Radiother Oncol. 2021 Dec 24:S0167-8140(21)09072-1. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2021.12.024. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The ability of Low dose radiotherapy (LDRT) to control the unprecedented cytokine release associated with COVID-19 pathogenesis has been an area of widespread research since the COVID pandemic. It has not been studied adequately whether the anti-inflammatory effect of LDRT provides additional benefit when used concurrently with steroids amongst other standard pharmacologic therapy.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: 51 RT-PCR positive COVID-19 patients were recruited between November 2020 and July 2021. 34 patients were allotted to receive 0.5Gy single session LDRT along with standard pharmacologic therapy while 17 patients received standard pharmacologic therapy alone. All had SpO2<94% on room air, respiratory frequency > 24/min and SpO2/FiO2 (SF) ratio between >89 but <357. All patients underwent a baseline CT scan. They were followed up for 28 days during when serial SF ratio, blood biomarkers (CRP, Serum ferritin, IL-6), Absolute lymphocyte count (ALC), repeat CT scan were performed at pre-defined time points.
RESULTS: LDRT showed a statistically significant early improvement in oxygenation, an early time to clinical recovery, early hospital discharge and better radiological resolution compared to control group. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with respect to ALC or blood biomarkers at any of the measured time points. The 28-day mortality rate did not show statistically significant difference between the two groups.
CONCLUSION: LDRT can be considered for selected oxygen-dependent moderate to severe COVID-19 patients for rapid relief of respiratory distress. It can be safely combined with standard pharmacologic treatment in such patients for added clinical benefit.