BACKGROUND: Prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) reduces the risk of overt brain metastases in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and is currently recommended in guidelines for both limited and extensive disease. Given the concerns about the greater frequency of neurologic side effects in elderly patients, we studied the association among age, PCI usage, and survival for SCLC patients in the Netherlands.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry for patients diagnosed with SCLC from 2009 to 2013 were queried. Separate analyses were performed for patients with stage I to III, treated with chemoradiotherapy (n = 1684) and patients with stage IV, treated with chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy (n = 3481). Patients with brain metastasis at diagnosis were excluded.
RESULTS: For patients with stage I to III, the overall PCI usage rate was 74%, and the rate decreased with age, from 78% for patients aged 18 to 59 years to 66% for patients aged ≥ 80 years. For patients with stage IV, the overall PCI usage rate was 41% and decreased with age, from 46% for patients aged 18 to 59 years to 23% for patients aged ≥ 80 years. Gender and socioeconomic status did not affect the PCI rates. For patients aged < 70 years and treated with PCI, the median survival was 45, 24, and 12 months for stage I and II, III, and IV, respectively. For patients aged ≥ 70 years treated with PCI, the corresponding survival duration was 33, 17, and 10 months.
CONCLUSION: In the Dutch population, PCI usage rates were fairly high but were significantly lower for elderly patients.