The association of incidental radiation dose to the heart base with overall survival and cardiac events after curative-intent radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer: results from the NI-HEART Study

G.M. Walls*, J. O'Connor, M. Harbinson, F. Duane, C. McCann, P. McKavanagh, D.I. Johnston, V. Giacometti, J. McAleese, A.R. Hounsell, A.J. Cole, K.T. Butterworth, C.K. McGarry, G.G. Hanna, S. Jain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aims
Cardiac disease is a dose-limiting toxicity in non-small cell lung cancer radiotherapy. The dose to the heart base has been associated with poor survival in multiple institutional and clinical trial datasets using unsupervised, voxel-based analysis. Validation has not been undertaken in a cohort with individual patient delineations of the cardiac base or for the endpoint of cardiac events. The purpose of this study was to assess the association of heart base radiation dose with overall survival and the risk of cardiac events with individual heart base contours.

Materials and methods
Patients treated between 2015 and 2020 were reviewed for baseline patient, tumour and cardiac details and both cancer and cardiac outcomes as part of the NI-HEART study. Three cardiologists verified cardiac events including atrial fibrillation, heart failure and acute coronary syndrome. Cardiac substructure delineations were completed using a validated deep learning-based autosegmentation tool and a composite cardiac base structure was generated. Cox and Fine–Gray regressions were undertaken for the risk of death and cardiac events.

Results
Of 478 eligible patients, most received 55 Gy/20 fractions (96%) without chemotherapy (58%), planned with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (71%). Pre-existing cardiovascular morbidity was common (78% two or more risk factors, 46% one or more established disease). The median follow-up was 21.1 months. Dichotomised at the median, a higher heart base Dmax was associated with poorer survival on Kaplan–Meier analysis (20.2 months versus 28.3 months; hazard ratio 1.40, 95% confidence interval 1.14–1.75, P = 0.0017) and statistical significance was retained in multivariate analyses. Furthermore, heart base Dmax was associated with pooled cardiac events in a multivariate analysis (hazard ratio 1.75, 95% confidence interval 1.03–2.97, P = 0.04).

Conclusions
Heart base Dmax was associated with the rate of death and cardiac events after adjusting for patient, tumour and cardiovascular factors in the NI-HEART study. This validates the findings from previous unsupervised analytical approaches. The heart base could be considered as a potential sub-organ at risk towards reducing radiation cardiotoxicity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Oncology
Volume36
Issue number2
Early online date08 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Autosegmentation
  • cardiovascular disease
  • heart base
  • intensity-modulated radiotherapy
  • lung cancer
  • radiation cardiotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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