AimsTo assess the risk of cardiac toxicity following radical radiotherapy in advanced lung cancer patients.
Materials and methodsPatients with a diagnosis of stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving chemoradiotherapy were extracted from a population-based cohort in Ontario, Canada. The primary outcome of cardiac toxicity, defined as cardiac events or congestive heart failure, was assessed at 1 and 5 years following chemoradiotherapy. Secondary outcomes included overall survival, survival in relationship to post-treatment cardiac events and the effect of radiotherapy technique on cardiac toxicity.
ResultsIn total, 2031 NSCLC patients were included. The cumulative incidence of cardiac toxicity at 5 years was 20.3% (18.4-22.3). The median survival was 13.7 months in NSCLC patients who had a cardiac event post-chemoradiotherapy compared with 23.4 months in those who did not (P = 0.012). There was a trend towards increased cumulative cardiac toxicity (hazard ratio 3.37, P = 0.14) with three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy compared with intensity-modulated or volumetric arc radiotherapy techniques.
ConclusionThe risk of cardiac events and congestive heart failure 5 years after radical thoracic radiotherapy appears high and survival is inferior at 1 year in those patients who experience a cardiac event post-treatment. More conformal radiotherapy techniques may help reduce cardiac toxicity. Further studies should investigate adaptive treatment planning and close monitoring and intervention in this high-risk group after chemoradiotherapy.