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To evaluate the impact of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) on the prognosis of patients who received definitive surgery for surgically resected small cell lung cancer (SCLC).A retrospective analysis was performed on post-operative SCLC patients treated in Zhejiang Cancer Hospital from January 2003 to December 2015. According to the treatment modality, patients were allocated to PCI group and non-PCI group. Univariate survival analysis was performed by the Kaplan–Meier method. Multivariate survival analysis was performed by a Cox proportional hazards model.A total of 52 patients were included for analysis, among which, 19 patients were in PCI group and 33 were in non-PCI group. Multivariate analysis revealed that PCI (HR = .330; P = .041) was an independently favorable prognostic factor for the overall survival. The median overall survival (OS) time was 32.9 months in PCI group, and 20.4 months in non-PCI group. The 2-year OS rates were 78.0% and 38.0% in PCI and non-PCI group respectively (P = .023). The brain metastasis-free survival (BMFS) rate at 2-year in PCI group was significantly higher than those of non-PCI group (89.0% vs 53.0%, respectively, P = .026).In conclusion, PCI might be suggested for limited SCLC patients who received definitive surgery.