BACKGROUND: In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), there is a relatively high incidence of brain metastases following radical treatment. At present, the role of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) in this group of patients is not clear. OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether PCI has a role in the management of patients with NSCLC treated with radical intent. SEARCH STRATEGY: The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cancerlit, along with handsearching of journals, relevant books, and review articles used to identify potentially eligible trials. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing PCI with no PCI in NSCLC patients treated with radical intent. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Four RCTs were reviewed. Due to the small patient numbers, and variations in radiotherapy (RT) dose, no meta-analysis was attempted. MAIN RESULTS: PCI may reduce the incidence of brain metastases, but there is no evidence of a survival benefit. There is no evidence that any regimen is superior, and the effect of PCI on quality of life (QOL) is not known. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to support the use of PCI in clinical practice. Where possible, patients should be offered entry into a clinical trial.
Patel, N., Lester, J. F., Coles, B., & Macbeth, F. (2005). Prophylactic cranial irradiation for preventing brain metastases in patients undergoing radical treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd005221