Endotracheal brachytherapy alone: An effective palliative treatment for tracheal tumors
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BACKGROUND: Tracheal tumors are rare. They are usually unresectable and treated primarily with external beam radiation. The use of palliative endotracheal brachytherapy (ETBT) alone in treating patients with tracheal tumors has not been reported. METHODS: Using a prospective database, demographic, treatment, and outcome data of patients with tracheal tumors treated palliatively with ETBT from 2006 to 2014 were analyzed. Tumor and symptom responses were evaluated based on response evaluation criteria in solid tumors criteria. Survival, in-field disease control, symptom response, and duration of symptom responses were evaluated using descriptive analyses. RESULTS: Sixteen ETBT (median, 2) treatments were delivered to 8 patients. Median age was 63.4 years old. Common symptoms were hemoptysis, cough, and dyspnea. Tracheal lengths of 3.5-11 cm were treated with 5-7 Gy/fraction, using 1-3 fractions. The mean overall survival was 5 months and symptom-free survival was 6.8 months, respectively. After ETBT, 88% of patients experienced symptomatic improvement (hemoptysis [n = 3/3], cough [n = 6/7], and dyspnea [n = 4/4]). One patient developed Grade 1 stenosis that did not require intervention. CONCLUSIONS: This is among the largest series of tracheal tumors treated palliatively with ETBT alone. ETBT provided effective palliation with symptom improvement and minimal toxicity.
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