Obtaining tissue diagnosis for lung cancer can sometimes be difficult and unsafe. We evaluated outcomes of biopsy-confirmed versus radiologically-diagnosed lung cancer treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).
A single-institutional retrospective cohort of lung cancer patients treated with SBRT between February 2014 and October 2018. Outcomes of interest were: local failure (LF), distant failure (DF), and overall survival (OS). Probability of LF, DF, and OS were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Differences in outcomes between biopsy-confirmed versus radiologically-diagnosed lung cancer were evaluated using the log-rank test.
Sixty-five lung lesions in 61 patients were treated with SBRT. Mean age was 75.6 years. Twenty-seven patients (44.3%) were ECOG 2-3. Thirty-nine patients (64%) were radiologically-diagnosed. There were five cases of LF observed at median of 12.8 months post-SBRT and 12-month LF-free survival was 96% (95% CI, 86-99%), with no differences between groups (p = 0.1). Sixteen patients developed DF, with 12-month DF-free survival of 84% (95% CI, 71-91%), and no difference between groups (p = 0.06). Sixteen deaths were reported at a median of 12.5 months post-SBRT, with 12-month OS of 85% (95% CI, 73-92%), and no differences between study groups (p = 0.5). No grade 3 toxicities were reported.
The oncological outcomes were similar in patients with early lung cancer treated with SBRT with or without biopsy-confirmation. In situations where tissue diagnosis is not feasible or unsafe, it is not unreasonable to offer SBRT based on clinical and radiological suspicion following multidisciplinary discussions.

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.