Prospective Evaluation of Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer Radiotherapy Fractionation Regimen Usage and Acute Toxicity in a Large Statewide Quality Collaborative

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Pract Radiat Oncol


PURPOSE: National guidelines on limited stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) treatment give preference to a hyperfractionated regimen of 45 Gy/30 fractions delivered twice-daily, however use of this regimen is uncommon compared to once-daily regimens. The purpose of this study was to characterize the LS-SCLC fractionation regimens used throughout a statewide collaborative, analyze patient and treatment factors associated with these regimens, and describe real-world acute toxicity profiles of once- and twice-daily RT regimens.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Demographic, clinical, and treatment data along with physician toxicity and patient-reported outcomes were prospectively collected by 29 institutions within the [quality consortium] between 2012 and 2021 for patients with LS-SCLC. We modeled the influence of RT fractionation and other patient-level variables clustered by treatment site on the odds of a treatment break specifically due to toxicity with multilevel logistic regression. Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 4.0, incident Grade 2 or worse toxicity was longitudinally compared between regimens.

RESULTS: There were 78 patients (15.6% overall) treated with twice-daily RT and 421 patients treated with once-daily RT. Patients receiving twice-daily RT were more likely to be married/living with someone (65% vs 51%, p=0.019) and to have no major comorbidities (24% vs 10%, p=0.017). Once-daily RT fractionation toxicity peaked during RT and twice-daily toxicity peaked within 1 month after RT. After stratifying by treatment site and adjusting for patient-level variables, once-daily treated patients had a 4.11 (95% confidence interval 1.31-12.87) higher odds of treatment break specifically due to toxicity than twice-daily treated patients.

CONCLUSION: Hyperfractionation for LS-SCLC remains infrequently prescribed despite the lack of evidence demonstrating superior efficacy or lower toxicity of once-daily RT. With peak acute toxicity after RT and lower likelihood of a treatment break with twice-daily fractionation in real-word practice, providers may start utilizing hyperfractionated RT more frequently.

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ePub ahead of print