Tumor regression during radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients using cone-beam computed tomography images

J E van Timmeren*, W van Elmpt, D de Ruysscher, B Reymen, O Hansen, C Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: Previous literature has reported contradicting results regarding the relationship between tumor volume changes during radiotherapy treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and locoregional recurrence-free rate or overall survival. The aim of this study is to validate the results from a previous study by using a different volume extraction procedure and evaluating an external validation dataset.

METHODS: For two datasets of 94 and 141 NSCLC patients, gross tumor volumes were determined manually to investigate the relationship between tumor volume regression and locoregional control using Kaplan-Meier curves. For both datasets, different subgroups of patients based on histology and chemotherapy regimens were also investigated. For the first dataset (n = 94), automatically determined tumor volumes were available from a previously published study to further compare their correlation with updated clinical data.

RESULTS: A total of 70 out of 94 patients were classified into the same group as in the previous publication, splitting the dataset based on median tumor regression calculated by the two volume extraction methods. Non-adenocarcinoma patients receiving concurrent chemotherapy with large tumor regression show reduced locoregional recurrence-free rates in both datasets (p < 0.05 in dataset 2). For dataset 2, the opposite behavior is observed for patients not receiving chemotherapy, which was significant for overall survival (p = 0.01) but non-significant for locoregional recurrence-free rate (p = 0.13).

CONCLUSION: The tumor regression pattern observed during radiotherapy is not only influenced by irradiation but depends largely on the delivered chemotherapy schedule, so it follows that the relationship between patient outcome and the degree of tumor regression is also largely determined by the chemotherapy schedule. This analysis shows that the relationship between tumor regression and outcome is complex, and indicates factors that could explain previously reported contradicting findings. This, in turn, will help guide future studies to fully understand the relationship between tumor regression and outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalStrahlentherapie Und onkologie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung/diagnostic imaging
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Lung/diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Burden/radiation effects
  • Cone-beam CT
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Gross tumor volume
  • Overall survival
  • Tumor regression


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