Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that cannot be surgically removed usually receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The goal of radiation therapy is to target and treat the lung tumor while sparing as much healthy tissue nearby from the damaging effects of radiation. In this study, researchers want to see if using positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scanning before and during radiation therapy can help doctors more precisely target inoperable stage III NSCLC and safely treat patients using a higher dose.
PET scanning shows the metabolic activity of a tumor, while CT scanning shows its location and the surrounding anatomy. By using them together during treatment, doctors hope they can deliver higher doses of radiation directly to smaller, active areas of lung cancer, resulting in better protection of normal lung tissue and higher therapeutic doses to the resistant tumor.
Patients will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Both groups will receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy). The first group will receive standard radiation therapy. The second group will receive image-guided radiotherapy, permitting higher radiation doses targeted to resistant lung tumors identified on PET/CT scanning results obtained during therapy.