Chemoradiotherapy for stage III non-small cell lung cancer: have we reached the limit?
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in men and the second leading cause in women. Approximately 85% of lung cancer patients have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and most present with advanced stage at diagnosis. The current treatment for such patients is chemoradiation (CRT) provided concurrently preferably or sequentially with chemotherapy, using conventionally fractionated radiation doses in the range of 60 to 66 Gy in 30 to 33 fractions. An individual patient data based metaanalysis has shown that in good performance status (PS), concomitant CRT was associated to improved survival by 4.5% compared to sequential combination (5-year survival rate of 15.1% and 10.6% respectively). In the recent years, improvement of modern technique of radiotherapy (RT) and new chemotherapy drugs may be favorable for the patients. Furthermore, the positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) contributes to improved delineation of RT especially in terms of nodal involvement. Improving outcomes for patients with stage III disease remains a challenge, this review will address the questions that are considered fundamental to improving outcome in patients with stage III NSCLC.