Prophylactic cranial irradiation in stage IV small cell lung cancer: Selection of patients amongst European IASLC and ESTRO experts

Paul M Putora, Markus Glatzer, José Belderbos, Benjamin Besse, Fiona Blackhall, Raffaele Califano, Federico Cappuzzo, Filippo de Marinis, Rafal Dziadziuszko, Enriqueta Felip, Corinne Faivre-Finn, Martin Früh, Pilar Garrido, Cecila Le Pechoux, Fiona McDonald, Ursula Nestle, Silvia Novello, Mary O'Brien, Luis Paz Ares, Stephanie PeetersChristoph Pöttgen, Sara Ramella, Martin Reck, Ben Slotman, Esther G C Troost, Paul Van Houtte, Virginie Westeel, Joachim Widder, Francoise Mornex, Dirk De Ruysscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Due to conflicting results between major trials the role of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) in stage IV small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is controversial.

METHODS: We obtained a list of 13 European experts from both the European Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ESTRO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). The strategies in decision making for PCI in stage IV SCLC were collected. Decision trees were created representing these strategies. Analysis of consensus was performed with the objective consensus methodology.

RESULTS: The factors associated with the recommendation for the use of PCI included the fitness of the patient, young age and good response to chemotherapy. PCI was recommended by the majority of experts for non-elderly fit patients who had at least a partial response (PR) to chemotherapy (for complete remission (CR) 85% of radiation oncologists and 69% of medical oncologists, for PR: 85% of radiation oncologists and 54% of medical oncologists). For patients with stable disease after chemotherapy, PCI was recommended by 6 out of 13 (46%) radiation oncologists and only 3 out of 13 medical oncologists (23%). For elderly fit patients with CR, a majority recommended PCI (62%) and no consensus was reached for patients with PR.

CONCLUSION: European radiation and medical oncologists specializing in lung cancer recommend PCI in selected patients and restrict its use primarily to fit, non-elderly patients who responded to chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-166
Number of pages4
JournalRadiotherapy & Oncology
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Expert opinion
  • PCI
  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Stage IV

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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