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Volume 20, Number 6, 2015

Stereotactic radiotherapy for early lung cancer: Evidence-based approach and future directions

Samer Chehade, David A. Palma



To review key studies evaluating stereotactic radiotherapy in the setting of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for inoperable or high-risk patients, and discuss areas of ongoing research and clinical trials.


The use of stereotactic radiotherapy for the treatment of early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has increased rapidly over the past decade. Numerous studies have reported outcomes for patients treated with SBRT who are unfit for surgical resection, or at high risk of surgical complications.

Materials and methods

A narrative review.


The preponderance of evidence suggests that SBRT is associated with excellent local control (∼90% at 3 years) and a favorable toxicity profile. In patients with higher operative risks, such as the elderly and patients with severe COPD, SBRT may provide a less-toxic treatment than surgery with similar oncologic outcomes. Ongoing studies are evaluating the use of SBRT for locally advanced or oligometastatic NSCLC.


A large body of evidence now exists to support the use of SBRT for early-stage NSCLC. Decisions regarding the optimal choice of treatment should be individualized, and made in the context of a multidisciplinary team.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2015; 20(6) : 403-410

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