J Thorac Oncol
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BACKGROUND: The use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) as primary treatment for early stage non-small-cell lung cancer, or for ablation of metastases, has increased rapidly in the past decade. With local recurrence rates reported at approximately 10%, and a patient population that is becoming increasingly fit and amenable to salvage treatment, appropriate multidisciplinary follow-up care is critical. Appropriate follow-up will allow for detection and management of radiation-related toxicity, early detection of recurrent disease and differentiation of recurrence from radiation-induced lung injury.
METHODS: This narrative review summarizes issues surrounding follow-up of patients treated with SABR in the context of a multidisciplinary perspective. We summarize treatment-related toxicities including radiation pneumonitis, chest wall pain, rib fracture, and fatal toxicity, and highlight the challenges of early and accurate detection of local recurrence, while avoiding unnecessary biopsy or treatment of benign radiation-induced fibrotic lung damage.
RESULTS: Follow-up recommendations based on the current evidence and available guidelines are summarized. Imaging follow-up recommendations include serial computed tomography (CT) imaging at 3-6 months posttreatment for the initial year, then every 6-12 months for an additional 3 years, and annually thereafter. With suspicion of progressive disease, recommendations include a multidisciplinary team discussion, the use of high-risk CT features for accurate detection of local recurrence, and positron emission tomography/CT SUV max cutoffs to prompt further investigation. Biopsy and/or surgical or nonsurgical salvage therapy can be considered if safe and when investigations are nonreassuring.
CONCLUSIONS: The appropriate follow-up of patients after SABR requires collaborative input from nearly all members of the thoracic multidisciplinary team, and evidence is available to guide treatment decisions. Further research is required to develop better predictors of toxicity and recurrence.