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June 20, 1977

Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation in Small Cell Carcinoma of the Lung: A Randomized Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Jackson, Richards, Cooper, Muss, White, and Spurr) and Radiation Therapy (Dr Ferree), Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

JAMA. 1977;237(25):2730-2733. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270520040019

Twenty-nine patients with small cell carcinoma of the lung and without evidence of brain metastasis were randomized into two treatment groups consisting of 14 patients who received prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) and 15 who received none (non-PCI). All patients were treated with irradiation of the primary lesion and concomitant chemotherapy. The response rate and median survival of the two groups were not significantly different: 93% and 7.2 months in the non-PCI; 86% and 9.8 months in the PCI; P ≥.05. Brain metastasis occurred in 0/14 patients in the PCI and 4/15 in the non-PCI (P ≤.05) and was the cause of major neurologic disability in each. Although PCI did not improve response rate or survival, brain metastasis with its attendant neurologic complications was effectively prevented.

(JAMA 237:2730-2733, 1977)