What is the optimal timing of thoracic radiotherapy in patients receiving chemotherapy for limited stage SCLC?
Two meta-analyses confirm that the addition of thoracic radiotherapy to chemotherapy improves survival in fit patients with limited stage SCLC. A number of subsequent meta-analyses have examined the question of radiotherapy timing in patients receiving chemotherapy for SCLC. Although not entirely consistent, a survival benefit is demonstrated favouring the early initiation of thoracic radiotherapy - especially if analysis is limited to trials employing platinum-containing chemotherapy.
Evidence summary and recommendations
| In patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer receiving platinum-containing chemotherapy, the early administration of concurrent thoracic radiotherapy improves overall survival compared to the later initiation of radiotherapy.
Last reviewed November 2015
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Fit patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer should receive thoracic radiotherapy concurrently with the first cycle of chemotherapy or as soon as possible thereafter.
Last reviewed November 2015
It is desirable not only to institute radiotherapy as soon as possible, but also to complete it as soon as possible, ideally within 30 days.
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