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Research Article

Radiotherapy in small cell cancer of the lung treated with combination chemotherapy: a controlled trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 02 June 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1643
  1. R L Souhami,
  2. D M Geddes,
  3. S G Spiro,
  4. P G Harper,
  5. J S Tobias,
  6. B S Mantell,
  7. F Fearon,
  8. I Bradbury


    Three hundred and seventy one patients with extensive or limited small cell cancer of the lung took part in a randomised trial to evaluate irradiation of the primary tumour in patients treated with combination chemotherapy. They were randomly allocated to treatment either with chemotherapy alone (198) or with both chemotherapy and radiotherapy (173). All 371 initially received 12 weeks of chemotherapy after which they were categorised according to response. Only those with stable or responding disease continued with their allotted treatment. Thus 144 received chemotherapy alone and 135 received both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The design of the study permitted analysis of the effect of radiotherapy according to initial extent of disease and quality of early response to chemotherapy. Radiotherapy (40 Gy (4000 rad), one fraction a day over 20 days) did not improve the survival of patients in any category of initial extent of disease or early response to chemotherapy and was not effective in preventing local relapse.