- Case report
- Open Access
- Open Peer Review
Toxic risk of stereotactic body radiotherapy and concurrent helical tomotherapy followed by erlotinib for non-small-cell lung cancer treatment - case report
© Hsieh et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
- Received: 2 June 2010
- Accepted: 31 December 2010
- Published: 31 December 2010
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) applied by helical tomotherapy (HT) is feasible for lung cancer in clinical. Using SBRT concurrently with erlotinib for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is not reported previously.
A 77-year-old man with stage III NSCLC, received erlotinib 150 mg/day, combined with image-guided SBRT via HT. A total tumor dose of 54 Gy/9 fractions was delivered to the tumor bed. The tumor responded dramatically and the combined regimen was well tolerated. After concurrent erlotinib-SBRT, erlotinib was continued as maintenance therapy. The patient developed dyspnea three months after the combined therapy and radiation pneumonitis with interstitial lung disease was suspected.
Combination SBRT, HT, and erlotinib therapy provided effective anti-tumor results. Nonetheless, the potential risks of enhanced adverse effects between radiation and erlotinib should be monitored closely, especially when SBRT is part of the regimen.
- Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor
- Interstitial Lung Disease
- NSCLC Patient
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
Erlotinib, one of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), is active and relatively well tolerated in chemotherapy-naïve elderly patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) . Image-guided stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and helical tomotherapy (HT) using hypofractionation in patients with early-stage medically inoperable NSCLC is feasible and well tolerated . For stage III NSCLC, hypofractionation yields equivalent survival rates, but without often fatal symptomatic pneumonitis, compared to conventional radiotherapy . The addition of standard-dose erlotinib to chemoradiotherapy is feasible, without an increase in toxicity . Little information is available on fatal pulmonary toxicity due to irradiation pneumonitis when erlotinib is concurrently given with SBRT and used thereafter as maintenance therapy for NSCLC.
Mean lung volume, dose, V15, and V20 for each lung in the first and second radiotherapy courses, with 2 weeks interval between radiotherapy courses.
First course (0-36 Gy)
Second course (36-54 Gy)
Right lung volume, 1167 ml
Left lung volume, 1244 ml
Right lung volume, 1385 ml
Left lung volume, 1490 ml
Mean lung dose (Gy)
Image-guided SBRT with HT using hypofractionation in patients with early-stage medically inoperable NSCLC is feasible . The hypofractionated scheme yields equivalent survival rates, without fatal, symptomatic pneumonitis for patients with stage III NSCLC when compared with conventional radiotherapy . Belderbos et al.  reported that radiation dose escalation was safe up to 94.5 Gy in 42 fractions with a mean lung dose 13.6 Gy or less in 6 weeks in NSCLC patients. The patients underwent irradiation 5 days per week, and twice daily when more than 30 fractions were prescribed, with at least a 6-h interval in between each fraction. According to linear-quadratic (LQ) modeling , the biologic effect of 94.5 Gy/42 fractions converted to a hypofractional dose of 6 Gy per fraction (EQD6), for which the acute effects and late normal tissue effects would be equivalent to 72 and 54 Gy, respectively. The mean lung dose (≥ 21 Gy), V20 (> 31%) , and ipsilateral V20 Gy  correlates with radiation pneumonitis. Nonetheless, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 0236 protocol using SBRT via HT for NSCLC provided safe and effective treatment when the V20 was restricted to less than 10% to 15% . The V15, V20, and mean lung dose for each separate lung by divided course are shown in the Table. Moreover, the whole-course V20 and mean total lung dose were 10% and 10.24 Gy, respectively. According to previous reports [5, 10, 11], this plan was safe and no symptomatic radiation pneumonitis occurred among the NSCLC patients.
Erlotinib, an EGFR TKI, is an effective anti-tumor agent for treatment of NSCLC among elderly patients . Erlotinib could be used as a single agent in select subsets of patients with advanced NSCLC . In a comparative trial, only 0.8% of patients developed interstitial lung disease in the erlotinib arm . Moreover, addition of standard-dose erlotinib to chemoradiotherapy was feasible and without evidence of increased toxicities . However, prior tissue injury from radiation therapy could lead to cells with altered responses when the drug is subsequently applied . Erlotinib enhanced radiation responses including cell cycle arrest, apoptosis induction, accelerated cellular repopulation, and DNA damage repair . Therefore, it is possible for erlotinib to induce an altered response in cells when erlotinib is applied after irradiation.
Though SBRT applied by HT allows for minimization of normal tissue exposure to high radiation doses , the large amount of low-dose irradiation to non-target organs at risk (OAR), and thus, the incidence of lung toxicity can become high . Recently, non-target OARs were impacted by arc therapy due to the low dose bath phenomenon and these effects could be magnified by agents known or unknown to be associated with recall effects . Irradiation modulates the anticancer drug's pharmacokinetics even under low doses and in off-target areas . Additionally, combined low-dose radiation and erlotinib induced symptomatic pneumonitis in one NSCLC patient . Another NSCLC patient developed radiation recall dermatitis induced by erlotinib . According to these reports, we believe EGFR inhibitor might not only enhance the effects of radiation, but also might enhance the adverse effects of radiation, especially when prescribed following previous concurrent treatment with radition. Furthermore, radiation modulates the systemic efficts of drugs regardless of the treatment effects or side effects. Erlotinib appears to modulate the effects of irradiation, both good and bad.
To our best knowledge, this is the first report of radiation pneumonitis caused by erlotinib combined with image-guided SBRT via HT with hypofractionation followed by erlotinib presecribed for maintenance. Oncologists should be alert to the potential risk of fatal pulmonary toxicity caused by this multimodality treatment. Radiotherapy plus targeting agents must be conducted in well-designed clinical trials.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient's family for publication of this case report and the accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal.
- Jackman DM, Yeap BY, Lindeman NI, Fidias P, Rabin MS, Temel J, Skarin AT, Meyerson M, Holmes AJ, Borras AM, et al: Phase II clinical trial of chemotherapy-naive patients > or = 70 years of age treated with erlotinib for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2007, 25 (7): 760-766. 10.1200/JCO.2006.07.5754.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hodge W, Tome WA, Jaradat HA, Orton NP, Khuntia D, Traynor A, Weigel T, Mehta MP: Feasibility report of image guided stereotactic body radiotherapy (IG-SBRT) with tomotherapy for early stage medically inoperable lung cancer using extreme hypofractionation. Acta Oncol. 2006, 45 (7): 890-896. 10.1080/02841860600907329.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Slotman BJ, Njo KH, de Jonge A, Meijer OW, Karim AB: Hypofractionated radiation therapy in unresectable stage III non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer. 1993, 72 (6): 1885-1893. 10.1002/1097-0142(19930915)72:6<1885::AID-CNCR2820720616>3.0.CO;2-7.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Choong NW, Mauer AM, Haraf DJ, Lester E, Hoffman PC, Kozloff M, Lin S, Dancey JE, Szeto L, Grushko T, et al: Phase I trial of erlotinib-based multimodality therapy for inoperable stage III non-small cell lung cancer. J Thorac Oncol. 2008, 3 (9): 1003-1011. 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31818396a4.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Yorke ED, Jackson A, Rosenzweig KE, Merrick SA, Gabrys D, Venkatraman ES, Burman CM, Leibel SA, Ling CC: Dose-volume factors contributing to the incidence of radiation pneumonitis in non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002, 54 (2): 329-339. 10.1016/S0360-3016(02)02929-2.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Choi YW, Munden RF, Erasmus JJ, Park KJ, Chung WK, Jeon SC, Park CK: Effects of radiation therapy on the lung: radiologic appearances and differential diagnosis. Radiographics. 2004, 24 (4): 985-997. 10.1148/rg.244035160. discussion 998View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Liu V, White DA, Zakowski MF, Travis W, Kris MG, Ginsberg MS, Miller VA, Azzoli CG: Pulmonary toxicity associated with erlotinib. Chest. 2007, 132 (3): 1042-1044. 10.1378/chest.07-0050.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Belderbos JS, Heemsbergen WD, De Jaeger K, Baas P, Lebesque JV: Final results of a Phase I/II dose escalation trial in non-small-cell lung cancer using three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006, 66 (1): 126-134. 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2006.04.034.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Fowler JF: The first James Kirk memorial lecture. What next in fractionated radiotherapy?. Br J Cancer Suppl. 1984, 6: 285-300.PubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Graham MV, Purdy JA, Emami B, Harms W, Bosch W, Lockett MA, Perez CA: Clinical dose-volume histogram analysis for pneumonitis after 3D treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999, 45 (2): 323-329. 10.1016/S0360-3016(99)00183-2.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Baisden JM, Romney DA, Reish AG, Cai J, Sheng K, Jones DR, Benedict SH, Read PW, Larner JM: Dose as a function of lung volume and planned treatment volume in helical tomotherapy intensity-modulated radiation therapy-based stereotactic body radiation therapy for small lung tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007, 68 (4): 1229-1237. 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.03.024.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Carrion RP, Gracian AC, Hernandez PS: Erlotinib as a single agent in select subsets of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Clin Lung Cancer. 2007, 8 (7): 425-428. 10.3816/CLC.2007.n.026.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Herbst RS, Prager D, Hermann R, Fehrenbacher L, Johnson BE, Sandler A, Kris MG, Tran HT, Klein P, Li X, et al: TRIBUTE: a phase III trial of erlotinib hydrochloride (OSI-774) combined with carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2005, 23 (25): 5892-5899. 10.1200/JCO.2005.02.840.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kitani H, Kosaka T, Fujihara T, Lindquist K, Elkind MM: The "recall effect" in radiotherapy: is subeffective, reparable damage involved?. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1990, 18 (3): 689-695. 10.1016/0360-3016(90)90078-X.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Chinnaiyan P, Huang S, Vallabhaneni G, Armstrong E, Varambally S, Tomlins SA, Chinnaiyan AM, Harari PM: Mechanisms of enhanced radiation response following epidermal growth factor receptor signaling inhibition by erlotinib (Tarceva). Cancer Res. 2005, 65 (8): 3328-3335.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Milano MT, Constine LS, Okunieff P: Normal tissue toxicity after small field hypofractionated stereotactic body radiation. Radiat Oncol. 2008, 3: 36-10.1186/1748-717X-3-36.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Yamashita H, Nakagawa K, Nakamura N, Koyanagi H, Tago M, Igaki H, Shiraishi K, Sasano N, Ohtomo K: Exceptionally high incidence of symptomatic grade 2-5 radiation pneumonitis after stereotactic radiation therapy for lung tumors. Radiat Oncol. 2007, 2: 21-10.1186/1748-717X-2-21.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Shueng PW, Lin SC, Chang HT, Chong NS, Chen YJ, Wang LY, Hsieh YP, Hsieh CH: Toxicity risk of non-target organs at risk receiving low-dose radiation: case report. Radiat Oncol. 2009, 4: 71-10.1186/1748-717X-4-71.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Hsieh CH, Hsieh YJ, Liu CY, Tai HC, Huang YC, Shueng PW, Wu LJ, Wang LY, Tsai TH, Chen YJ: Abdominal irradiation modulates 5-Fluorouracil pharmacokinetics. J Transl Med. 2010, 8: 29-10.1186/1479-5876-8-29.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Nanda A, Dias-Santagata DC, Stubbs H, O'Hara CJ, Zaner KS, Lynch TJ, Willers H: Unusual tumor response and toxicity from radiation and concurrent erlotinib for non-small-cell lung cancer. Clin Lung Cancer. 2008, 9 (5): 285-287. 10.3816/CLC.2008.n.044.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dauendorffer JN, Dupuy A: Radiation recall dermatitis induced by erlotinib. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009, 61 (6): 1086-10.1016/j.jaad.2009.04.033.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:http://0-www.biomedcentral.com.brum.beds.ac.uk/1471-2407/10/696/prepub
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.