Aims: Curative-intent (radical) radiotherapy aims to control local disease and cure non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The predominant subtypes of NSCLC are adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The radiotherapy paradigm offered to patients does not differ according to these two subtypes. Relapse patterns and disease control rates for adenocarcinoma and SCC treated with radical radiotherapy were determined. Materials and methods: A radical radiotherapy database covering the period from 2004 to June 2016 was examined to determine the first sites of relapse and the actuarial local and distant control rates. Results: In total, 537 patients with known pathological subtype were treated over the period. In 39 (7%), the site of first relapse was uncertain. Of the remainder, 203 (41%) had adenocarcinoma and 295 (59%) had SCC. At a median follow-up of 16.4 months, 58% had relapsed. There was a difference in relapse patterns (chi-squared test P < 0.0005), with a higher rate of first relapse locally in SCC (42% of all patients versus 24%) and a higher rate of first relapse in the brain for adenocarcinoma (14% versus 3%). The actuarial local control rate was worse for SCC (hazard ratio 0.6, 95% confidence interval 0.5–0.9, P = 0.002). The brain metastasis-free survival was worse for adenocarcinoma (hazard ratio 4.1, 95% confidence interval 2.2–7.5, P < 0.0001). Conclusion: There is a difference in relapse patterns between NSCLC histological subtypes, indicating that these are distinct entities. This may have implications for follow-up policy and strategies to improve disease control.
- lung cancer
- squamous cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging