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Postoperative Radiation Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Thymic Malignancies

Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1840 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX 77054, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2012, 4(1), 307-322;
Received: 3 January 2012 / Revised: 21 February 2012 / Accepted: 6 March 2012 / Published: 14 March 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation and Cancers)
PDF [322 KB, uploaded 15 March 2012]


For many thoracic malignancies, surgery, when feasible, is the preferred upfront modality for local control. However, adjuvant radiation plays an important role in minimizing the risk of locoregional recurrence. Tumors in the thoracic category include certain subgroups of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as well as thymic malignancies. The indications, radiation doses, and treatment fields vary amongst subtypes of thoracic tumors, as does the level of data supporting the use of radiation. For example, in the setting of NSCLC, postoperative radiation is typically reserved for close/positive margins or N2/N3 disease, although such diseases as superior sulcus tumors present unique cases in which the role of neoadjuvant vs. adjuvant treatment is still being elucidated. In contrast, for thymic malignancies, postoperative radiation therapy is often used for initially resected Masaoka stage III or higher disease, with its use for stage II disease remaining controversial. This review provides an overview of postoperative radiation therapy for thoracic tumors, with a separate focus on superior sulcus tumors and thymoma, including a discussion of acceptable radiation approaches and an assessment of the current controversies involved in its use. View Full-Text
Keywords: postoperative radiation therapy; superior sulcus tumors; thymoma postoperative radiation therapy; superior sulcus tumors; thymoma

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Gomez, D.R.; Komaki, R. Postoperative Radiation Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Thymic Malignancies. Cancers 2012, 4, 307-322.

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