Empiric Radiotherapy for Lung Cancer Collaborative Group multiinstitutional evidence-based guidelines for the use of empiric stereotactic body radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancer without pathologic confirmation
The standard of care for managing early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is definitive surgical resection. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has become the standard treatment for patient who are medically inoperable, and it is increasingly being considered as an option in operable patients. With the growing use of screening thoracic CT scans for patients with a history of heavy smoking, as well as improved imaging capabilities, the discovery of small lung nodes has become a common dilemma. As a result, clinicians are increasingly faced with managing lung nodules in patients in whom diagnostic biopsy is not safe or feasible. Herein, we describe the scope of the problem, tools available for predicting the probability that a lung nodule is a malignancy, staging procedures, benefits of pathology-proven and empiric SBRT, considerations of safety based on location of the lesion of concern, and overall efficacy of SBRT.