The impact of pre-radiotherapy surgery on radiation-induced lung injury

Z. Kocak, X. Yu, S. M. Zhou, A. D'Amico, D. Hollis, D. Kahn, A. Tisch, T. D. Shafman, Lawrence B. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Aims: The use of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) is predicated by an assessment of the potential benefits and risks, including radiation-induced lung injury. In this study, the risk of radiation-induced lung injury is assessed in patients who received PORT, and compared with a group of patients who received radiation without prior surgery, to determine if surgery increases the risk of radiation pneumonitis. Materials and methods: From 1991 to 2003, 251 patients with lung cancer were enrolled into a prospective study to assess radiation-induced lung injury. All patients received three-dimensional-planned, external-beam radiotherapy. One hundred and seventy-seven patients with over 6-months follow-up were eligible. For the current analysis, 49 patients (28%) had surgical intervention before radiotherapy. The rates of Grade 2 symptomatic pneumonitis in subgroups, based on the type of pre-radiation surgery, were computed and compared using Fisher's Exact Test. To consider the confounding factor of irradiated lung volume, patient subgroups were further defined on the basis of the mean lung dose. Results: Surgical procedures included pneumonectomy (n = 9), lobectomy (n = 16), wedge resection (n = 8) and exploration without resection (n = 16). Radiation-induced lung injury occurred in 33 out of 177 (19%) patients, including 18% of the surgical group and 19% of the non-surgical group. Additionally, no statistically significant difference was found in the rate of radiation-induced lung injury based on the extent of resection. Conclusions: The incidence of pneumonitis is similar in the surgical and non-surgical groups. Thus, PORT may be safely given to selected patients after surgical exploration or resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Lung cancer
  • Radiation pneumonitis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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