Results of whole-brain irradiation for metastases from small cell carcinoma of the lung

J. D. Cox, R. Komaki, R. W. Byhardt, L. E. Kun

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59 Scopus citations


Prophylactic brain irradiation significantly reduces the proportion of patients with small cell carcinoma of the lung (SCL) who develop brain metastases. Therapeutic brain irradiation could be used instead of prophylactic irradiation if it cold be delivered promptly after diagnosis of intercranial spread and if it were highly effective. Forty of 188 patients wih SCCL seen in the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals had brain metastases either at initial diagnosis (23 paients) or after treatment (17 patients). Irradiation was administered to the whole brain at doses ranging from 3000 rads n 2 weeks to 4000 rads in 3 weeks. Neurologic function was the same for those patients with initial and irradiation affeced survival. After the diagnosis of brain metastases, survival was the same whether metastases were initially present or wer delayed. Eighteen (45%) of the patients died from brain metastases and two (5%) are alive following disease recurrence i the brain. Increasing survival with SCCL due to effective chemotherapy is associated with an increasing failure rate in he brain which may eventually reach the 50% rate found at autopsy. Therapeutic brain irradiation is not sufficiently effetive to preclude prophylactic irradiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-961
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Treatment Reports
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Dec 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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