A pilot study of whole body hyperthermia and local irradiation for advanced non-small cell lung cancer confined to the thorax
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Six patients with Stage III non-small cell lung cancer completed therapy which consisted of 4 whole body hyperthermia (WBH) treatments during the first 2 weeks of a 6 week course of radiotherapy (60 Gy). A radiant heat system was used to deliver the 41.8 degree C WBH. To reduce the danger of transverse myelitis, the spinal cord (and therefore part of the mediastinum and contralateral hilar region) was not irradiated during the first 2 weeks of radiotherapy and concurrent WBH. Subsequent treatments (weeks 3-6) included conventional irradiation to the primary tumor, mediastinal lymph nodes and spinal cord. Areas of gross disease responded to therapy in 5/6 patients. No radiation pneumonitis was observed. In 2/6 patients, relapse (after 10 months and 6 months, respectively) occurred with malignant pericardial effusions. The mediastinum in these patients was not an area of bulky disease involvement initially. To eliminate such WBH-radiation sanctuary zones, the protocol was modified to include greater combined WBH-radiation treatment. This is accomplished by having one WBH treatment "sandwiched" between 2 radiation fractions. The preclinical basis for the revised protocol is presented.
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