Estimation of the α/β ratio of non-small cell lung cancer treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy.

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Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology


BACKGROUND: High-dose hypofractionated radiotherapy should theoretically result in a deviation from the typical linear-quadratic shape of the cell survival curve beyond a certain threshold dose, yet no evidence for this hypothesis has so far been found in clinical data of stereotactic body radiotherapy treatment (SBRT) for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A pragmatic explanation is a larger α/β ratio than the conventionally assumed 10 Gy. We here attempted an estimation of the α/β ratio for NSCLC treated with SBRT using individual patient data.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We combined two large retrospective datasets, yielding 1294 SBRTs (≤10 fractions) of early stage NSCLC. Cox proportional hazards regression, a logistic tumor control probability model and a biologically motivated Bayesian cure rate model were used to estimate the α/β ratio based on the observed number of local recurrences and accounting for tumor size.

RESULTS: A total of 109 local progressions were observed after a median of 17.7 months (range 0.6-76.3 months). Cox regression, logistic regression of 3 year tumor control probability and the cure rate model yielded best-fit estimates of α/β = 12.8 Gy, 14.9 Gy and 12-16 Gy (depending on the prior for α/β), respectively, although with large uncertainties that did not rule out the conventional α/β = 10 Gy.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians can continue to use the simple LQ formalism to compare different SBRT treatment schedules for NSCLC. While α/β = 10 Gy is not ruled out by our data, larger values in the range 12-16 Gy are more probable, consistent with recent meta-regression analyses.



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