Post-radiotherapy maintenance treatment with fluticasone propionate and salmeterol for lung cancer patients with grade III radiation pneumonitis: A case report

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Abstract

Rationale:

This combination of fluticasone propionate (FP) and the long-acting β2-agonist salmeterol (Salm) can control the symptoms of asthma and COPD better than FP or Salm on their own and better than the combination of inhaled corticosteroids plus montelukast. FP/Salm has been shown to control symptoms of asthma and COPD better than a double dose of inhaled steroids. The patient in our report had a history of COPD, and suffered relapse of RP when given only steroids. It is possible that COPD history helps explain this patient's more difficult treatment course. Therefore, this combination may be more effective than inhaled steroids for patients with a history of COPD.

Patient concers:

This patient suffered adverse reactions triggered by methylprednisolone: weight gain, hyperglycaemia and sleep disturbance after more than two months of intravenous and oral prednisolone. These reactions disappeared when we switched the patients to FP/Salm maintenance therapy.

Diagnoses:

The patient underwent upper right lobectomy in September 2011. Immunohistochemistry indicated low squamous cell differentiation, and he was diagnosed with stage IIB disease (T2N1M0) according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) (7th edition).

Diagnoses:

One month after repeat radiotherapy, the patient experienced fever (37.6°C), cough, chest distress and shortness of breath. We performed serologic tests, laboratory tests for procalcitonin and C-reactive protein, as well as sputum and blood cultures to rule out bacterial infection. Chest CT showed consolidation with air bronchogram in the hilum of the right lung and ground-glass densities in the right lower lobe and left upper lobe. These radiographic signs are typical of RP. Since the patient required oxygen, he was diagnosed with grade III RP.

Interventions:

After the patinet was diagnosed with grade III RP. The patient was immediately prescribed oxygen, anti-infectives for prophylaxis, treatments to facilitate expectoration and prevent asthma, and most importantly, intravenous methylprednisone at an initial dose of 60  per day. And we cut the steroid dose in half every one week when the patient's symptoms improved obviously, and the patchy shadow on the chest radiograph sharply reduced. Then we give him FP (500 mg)/Salm (50 mg) twice daily for two months. Then the dose was halved for an additional two months.

Outcomes:

The patient showed no signs of tumor or RP relapse by the last follow-up in March 2018.

Lessons:

This maintenance therapy of FP/Salm for patient with grade III RP may help avoid relapse when steroid therapy is tapered, particularly for patients with a history of COPD. It may also reduce risk of steroid-associated adverse effects. Based on the results observed with our patient, we intend to design a prospective trial to assess the efficacy of FP/Salm when used as preventive treatment for patients at high risk of RP, and when used as maintenance treatment for patients with grade III RP.

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