Vol 27, No 1 (2022)
Review paper
Published online: 2022-01-19

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Stereotactic radiotherapy for lung oligometastases

Lorenzo Falcinelli1, Claudia Menichelli2, Franco Casamassima2, Cynthia Aristei1, Simona Borghesi3, Gianluca Ingrosso4, Lorena Draghini5, Angiolo Tagliagambe6, Serena Badellino7, Michela Buglione di Monale e Bastia8
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2022;27(1):23-31.


30–60% of cancer patients develop lung metastases, mostly from primary tumors in the colon-rectum, lung, head and neck area, breast and kidney. Nowadays, stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) is considered the ideal modality for treating pulmonary metastases.

When lung metastases are suspected, complete disease staging includes a total body computed tomography (CT) and/or positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scan. PET-CT has higher specificity and sensitivity than a CT scan when investigating mediastinal lymph nodes, diagnosing a solitary lung lesion and detecting distant metastases. For treatment planning, a multi-detector planning CT scan of the entire chest is usually performed, with or without intravenous contrast media or esophageal lumen opacification, especially when central lesions have to be irradiated. Respiratory management is recommended in lung SRT, taking the breath cycle into account in planning and delivery. For contouring, co-registration and/or matching planning CT and diagnostic images (as provided by contrast enhanced CT or PET-CT) are useful, particularly for central tumors. Doses and fractionation schedules are heterogeneous, ranging from 33 to 60 Gy in 3–6 fractions. Independently of fractionation schedule, a BED10 > 100 Gy is recommended for high local control rates. Single fraction SRT (ranges 15–30 Gy) is occasionally administered, particularly for small lesions. SRT provides tumor control rates of up to 91% at 3 years, with limited toxicities.

The present overview focuses on technical and clinical aspects related to treatment planning, dose constraints, outcome and toxicity of SRT for lung metastases.


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