Impact of invasive nodal staging on regional and distant recurrence rates after SBRT for inoperable stage I NSCLC

William R. Kennedy, Pamela P. Samson, Prashant Gabani, John Nikitas, Jeffrey D. Bradley, Michael C. Roach, Clifford G. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose/Objectives: Before definitive stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for presumably node-negative, early-stage NSCLC, many patients are staged with PET/CT alone. In patients undergoing PET/CT prior to SBRT, the role of invasive nodal staging (INS) with endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) or mediastinoscopy is uncertain. We sought to characterize the impact of nodal staging modality on outcomes. Materials/Methods: Patients receiving definitive SBRT for T1-2N0 NSCLC deemed node-negative by either PET/CT plus INS (EBUS or mediastinoscopy) or PET/CT alone were identified. Patients with initially equivocal or positive nodes on PET/CT were excluded from this analysis. All patients received 3–5 fraction SBRT according to institutional guidelines. Control was assessed by at least one follow-up CT in all patients. Multivariable logistic regression (MVA) was performed to identify variables independently associated with use of INS. Results: We identified 651 eligible patients at our institution from 2005–2016. INS was performed in 15.2% of patients (n = 99) with EBUS (n = 78) or mediastinoscopy (n = 21). Median follow-up was 19.4 months (0.2–135.1). Median survival was 28.5 months (0.6–140). Factors predictive of increased likelihood of INS after negative PET/CT on MVA were age (OR for decreasing age 1.033; 95% CI 1.058–1.010), Caucasian race (OR vs. non-white 1.852; 1.044–3.289), male sex (1.629; 1.031–2.575), central location (1.978; 1.218–3.211) and squamous histology (2.564; 1.243–5.287). Nodal and/or distant control at 2 years was similar between PET/CT alone (78%, 95% CI 74–82%) and INS + PET/CT (75%, 95% CI 65–85%) (p = 0.877) as well as on MVA. Overall survival did not differ based on staging modality. Conclusions: In patients with early-stage NSCLC deemed node-negative by PET/CT, addition of INS did not appreciably alter patterns of failure or survival after definitive SBRT. This study does not question the established value of INS for equivocal or suspicious nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-210
Number of pages5
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Endobronchial ultrasound
  • Lung cancer
  • Mediastinal staging
  • Mediastinoscopy
  • PET/CT
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy


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