Objectives: The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting people worldwide. Most of the infected patients suffering from respiratory involvement that may progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome. This pilot study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy of low-dose whole-lung radiotherapy in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
Methods: In this clinical trial, done in Iran, we enrolled patients with COVID-19 who were older than 60 years and hospitalized to receive supplementary oxygen for their documented pneumonia. Participants were treated with whole-lung irradiation in a single fraction of 0.5 Gy plus national protocol for the management of COVID-19. Vital signs (including blood oxygenation and body temperature) and laboratory findings (IL-6 and CRP) were recorded before and after irradiation.
Results: Between 21 May 2020 and 24 June 2020, five patients received whole-lung irradiation. They followed for 5-7 days to evaluate response to treatment and toxicities. The clinical and paraclinical findings of four patients (except for patient #4 that get worst and died on day 3) improved on the first day of irradiation. Patient #3 opted-out the trial on the third day of irradiation. The mean time to discharge was 6 days for the other three patients. No acute radiation-induced toxicity was recorded.
Conclusion: With a response rate of 80%, whole-lung irradiation in a single fraction of 0.5 Gy had encouraging results in oxygen-dependent patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.