External beam radiation therapy combined with airway stenting leads to better survival in patients with malignant airway obstruction

Christopher Mallow, Jeffrey Thiboutot, Roy Semaan, Margaret M. Hayes, Russell Hales, Ashwin Ram, David Feller-Kopman, Hans Lee, Lonny Yarmus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background and objective: Malignant airway obstruction (MAO), a common complication of patients with advanced lung cancer, causes debilitating dyspnoea and poor quality of life. Two common interventions used in the treatment of MAO include bronchoscopy with airway stenting and external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). Data are limited regarding their clinical effectiveness and overall effect on survival. Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients treated with airway stenting and/or EBRT at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for MAO between July 2010 and January 2017 was reviewed. Demographics, performance status, cancer histology, therapeutic intervention and date of death were recorded. Survival was calculated using cox regression analysis. Results: Of the 606 patients who were treated for MAO, 237 were identified as having MAO and included in the study. Sixty-eight patients underwent rigid bronchoscopy and stenting, 102 EBRT and 67 a combined approach. Patients who underwent stenting hand an increased hazard ratio (HR) of death in comparison to those who received combination therapy (HR: 2.12, 95% CI: 1.02, 4.39), while there was a trend towards significance in the EBRT alone group in comparison to the combination therapy group (HR: 1.62, 95% CI: 0.93, 2.83). Conclusion: In this retrospective analysis, combination therapy with stenting and EBRT led to better survival in comparison to stenting or EBRT alone. Prospective cohort trials are needed to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-865
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • airway stent
  • external beam radiotherapy
  • lung cancer
  • malignant airway obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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