Induction chemotherapy has been shown to improve survival of patients with stage III A/N2 (T1–3, N2, M0) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), followed by resection, but the benefits of neoadjuvant radiotherapy still remain controversial.
PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane library databases were searched for relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the outcomes of induction chemoradiotherapy over induction chemotherapy, in patients with resectable stage IIIA/N2 NSCLC. Odds ratios (ORs) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using random- or fixed-effects model, and heterogeneity was assessed using I2 test. Publication bias was examined by funnel plots analysis.
A total of three RCTs met the inclusion criteria of our meta-analysis. The pooled results demonstrated that, in comparison to induction chemotherapy, induction chemoradiotherapy has a significant benefit in tumor response, mediastinal downstaging, and pathological complete response of mediastinal lymph nodes. In addition, no more peri-intervention mortality was detected in patients from chemoradiotherapy group, and a higher number of patients from this group had R0 resection. However, our results did not show any difference between overall survival and progression-free survival after 2, 4, and 6 years of follow-ups, in patients undergoing radiation therapy vs. induction chemotherapy.
Preoperative chemoradiotherapy, as compared to induction chemotherapy alone, is associated with similar peri-intervention mortality, a greater tumor response, mediastinal nodule downstaging, and rate of R0 resection, but does not improve survival of resectable stage IIIA/N2 NSCLC patients.
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- Comparing the benefits of chemoradiotherapy and chemotherapy for resectable stage III A/N2 non-small cell lung cancer: a meta-analysis
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