Relating radiation-induced regional lung injury to changes in pulmonary function tests.
PURPOSE: To determine whether the sum of radiotherapy (RT)-induced reductions in regional lung perfusion is quantitatively related to changes in global lung function as assessed by reductions in pulmonary function tests (PFTs). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Two hundred seven patients (70% with lung cancer) who received incidental partial lung irradiation underwent PFTs (forced expiratory volume in 1 s and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide) before and repeatedly after RT as part of a prospective clinical study. Regional lung function was serially assessed before and after RT by single photon emission computed tomography perfusion scans. Of these, 53 patients had 105 post-RT evaluations of changes in both regional perfusion and PFTs, were without evidence of intrathoracic disease recurrence that might influence regional perfusion and PFT findings, and were not taking steroids. The summation of the regional functional perfusion changes were compared with changes in PFTs using linear regression analysis. RESULTS: Follow-up ranged from 3 to 86 months (median 19). Overall, a significant correlation was found between the sum of changes in regional perfusion and the changes in the PFTs (p = 0.002-0.24, depending on the particular PFT index). However, the correlation coefficients were small (r = 0.16-0.41). CONCLUSIONS: A statistically significant correlation was found between RT-induced changes in regional function (i.e., perfusion) and global function (i.e., PFTs). However, the correlation coefficients are low, making it difficult to relate changes in perfusion to changes in the PFT results. Thus, with our current techniques, the prediction of changes in perfusion alone does not appear to be sufficient to predict the changes in PFTs accurately. Additional studies to clarify the relationship between regional and global lung injury are needed.
Fan, M; Marks, LB; Lind, P; Hollis, D; Woel, RT; Bentel, GG; Anscher, MS; Shafman, TD; Coleman, RE; Jaszczak, RJ; Munley, MT
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