Purpose: To assess the safety of CT-guided brachytherapy of lung malignancies and to evaluate the initial therapeutic response.
Patients and methods: Fifteen patients with 30 lung malignancies were included in this prospective phase I trial (metastases, 28; non-small cell lung cancers, 2). Preinterventionally two patients had a vital capacity of < 80% (39% and 63%). These two patients, and one other, had FEV1 values of < 80% predicted (17%, 48%, and 64%). Tumors with a maximum diameter of 4 cm were treated with a single brachytherapy catheter that was positioned under CT-fluoroscopy. In two tumors with tumor diameters of 5.5 and 6.5 cm, two applicators were used. In one patient with an 11-cm irregularly shaped tumor, nine catheters were inserted. Treatment planning for 192Ir brachytherapy was performed using three-dimensional CT data that were acquired after percutaneous applicator positioning. All procedures were performed under local anesthesia. A follow-up CT was performed 6 weeks later and every 3 months postintervention.
Results: The mean diameter of the 30 lung tumors was 2 cm (range, 0.6 to 11 cm; median diameter, 1.5 cm). The minimal dose within the tumor margin was 20 Gy in all 30 tumors treated. Except for nausea in one patient and focal hemorrhage detected on CT in two patients, no acute adverse events were recorded. One patient developed an abscess at the previous tumor location 9 months after treatment, which proved to be a local tumor recurrence. The median follow-up period was 5+ months with a local tumor control of 97%.
Conclusion: The novel technique of CT-guided interstitial brachytherapy was safe for the treatment of lung tumors and yielded a very low complication rate. The initial data on therapeutic response are promising.