The aim of this clinical study was to scrutinize the effects of fractionation scheme and other factors on the survival rates of palliative lung cancer radiotherapy.

A retrospective univariable and multivariable clinical analysis of the prognostic factors was carried out on patients with SCLC and NSCLC under palliative lung radiotherapy. The factors analysed includes: sex, age, functionality, histology, cancer stage, tumour site, smoking status, comorbidities, pack year history, radiotherapy treatment, and dose scheme. The overall mortality rate of palliative lung radiotherapy treatment was calculated at 30 and 90 days.

Univariable analysis indicated that functionality (P < 0.001), fractionation scheme (P < 0.001), comorbidities (P = 0.02), SCLC (small cell) histology (P = 0.02), ‘lifelong never’ smoking history (P = 0.01) and gender (P = 0.06) were linked to higher survival rates. Multivariable analysis indicated only better functionality (P = 0.01) and increased fractionation schemes of up to 30 Gy/10 fractions (P < 0.001) were linked to improved rates of survival. Mortality rates were 9.2% and 34% within 30 and 90 days of treatment, respectively.

The clinical analysis of palliative lung radiotherapy showed increased survival rates with total dose (up to and including 30 Gy/10 fractions) irrespective of performance status.