Stereotactic body radiotherapy for centrally located stage I nonsmall cell lung cancer

Andrew Bang, Andrea Bezjak


Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has become the standard of care for the treatment of early stage non-small cell lung cancer in high risk or medically inoperable patients. It is very well tolerated when given to peripherally located tumors and is associated with high rates of local control. Centrally located tumors represent a bigger challenge as they are closer to a number of critical structures, namely the major bronchi, esophagus, large vessels and brachial plexus, that can be damaged by the high ablative doses of SBRT needed for optimal tumor control. Thus, the fractionation schedule for centrally located tumors needs to balance the need for tumor control while minimizing the risk of significant radiotherapy toxicity. In this article, we review the current evidence, summarize the prospective and retrospective studies of SBRT for centrally located tumors, and highlight several practical considerations.