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PURPOSE: The heart receives high radiation doses during radiation therapy of advanced-stage lung cancer. We have explored associations between overall survival, cardiac radiation doses, and electrocardiographic (ECG) changes in patients treated in IDEAL-CRT, a trial of isotoxically escalated concurrent chemoradiation delivering tumor doses of 63 to 73 Gy. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Dosimetric and survival data were analyzed for 78 patients. The whole heart, pericardium, AV node, and walls of left and right atria (LA/RA-Wall) and ventricles (LV/RV-Wall) were outlined on radiation therapy planning scans, and differential dose-volume histograms (dDVHs) were calculated. For each structure, dDVHs were approximated using the average dDVH and the 10 highest-ranked structure-specific principal components (PCs). ECGs at baseline and 6 months after radiation therapy were analyzed for 53 patients, dichotomizing patients according to presence or absence of "any ECG change" (conduction or ischemic/pericarditis-like change). All-cause death rate (DR) was analyzed from the start of treatment using Cox regression. RESULTS: 38% of patients had ECG changes at 6 months. On univariable analysis, higher scores for LA-Wall-PC6, Heart-PC6, "any ECG change," and larger planning target volume (PTV) were significantly associated with higher DR (P=.003, .009, .029, and .037, respectively). Heart-PC6 and LA-Wall-PC6 represent larger volumes of whole heart and left atrial wall receiving 63 to 69 Gy. Cardiac doses ≥63 Gy were concentrated in the LA-Wall, and consequently Heart-PC6 was highly correlated with LA-Wall-PC6. "Any ECG change," LA-Wall-PC6 scores, and PTV size were retained in the multivariable model. CONCLUSIONS: We found associations between higher DR and conduction or ischemic/pericarditis-like changes on ECG at 6 months, and between higher DR and higher Heart-PC6 or LA-Wall-PC6 scores, which are closely related to heart or left atrial wall volumes receiving 63 to 69 Gy in this small cohort of patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys

Publication Date





51 - 60


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Analysis of Variance, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Cause of Death, Dose Fractionation, Radiation, Electrocardiography, Female, Heart, Heart Atria, Humans, Lung Neoplasms, Male, Middle Aged, Organs at Risk, Pericardium, Principal Component Analysis, Prospective Studies, Radiation Dosage, Radiation Injuries, Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted