Preprint Brief Report Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Low-dose Whole-lung Irradiation for COVID-19 Pneumonia: What is the Optimal Dose? Final Results of a Pilot Study

Version 1 : Received: 8 September 2020 / Approved: 10 September 2020 / Online: 10 September 2020 (08:36:57 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.11.065


Purpose: Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the current global concern. Radiotherapy (RT), commonly employed in cancer management, has been considered one of the potential treatments for COVID-19 pneumonia. Here, we present the final report of the pilot trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of low-dose whole-lung irradiation (LD-WLI) in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Methods and Materials: We enrolled patients with moderate COVID-19 pneumonia who were older than 60 years. Participants were treated with LD-WLI in a single fraction of 0.5 or 1.0Gy along with the national protocol of COVID-19. The primary endpoints were improvement of SpO2, the number of hospital/ICU stay days, and the number of intubations after RT and the secondary endpoints were alterations of the c-reactive peptide, interleukin-6, ferritin, procalcitonin, and D-dimer. The response rate (RR) was defined as a rise in SpO2 upon RT with rising or constant trend in the next two days, and clinical recovery (CR) included patients who were discharged from the hospital or acquired SpO2 ≥93% on room air. Results: Between 21 May 2020 and 2 July 2020, ten patients were enrolled. The median age was 75 years, 80% were male, and 80% had comorbidities. The first five patients received a single 0.5Gy-WLI, and others received 1.0Gy. Patients were followed for 2-14 days (median 5.5 days). Following one day, nine patients experienced an improvement in SpO2. Five patients were discharged (median 6th day, range 2nd-14th day), and four patients died (median 7th day, range 3rd-10th day). Overall, the RR and CR were 60.0% and 55.5%, respectively. The RR and CR rates of 0.5- and 1.0Gy group were 80% vs 40% and 75% vs 40%, respectively. No acute radiation-induced toxicity was recorded. Conclusions: LD-WLI with a single 0.5Gy fraction seems to be a more appropriate dose to warrant further evaluation in a large-scale, randomized trial.


COVID-19; pneumonia; low-dose whole-lung irradiation; SpO2



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