Whole-lung Low Dose Irradiation for SARS-Cov2 Induced Pneumonia in the Geriatric Population: An Old Effective Treatment for a New Disease? Recommendation of the International Geriatric Radiotherapy Group

Pedro Carlos Lara, Nam P Nguyen, David Macias-Verde, Javier Burgos-Burgos, Meritxell Arenas, Alice Zamagni, Vincent Vinh - Hung

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Abstract

A cytokine storm induced by SARS-Cov2 may produce pneumonitis which may be fatal for older patients with underlying lung disease. Hyper-elevation of Interleukin1 (IL-1), Tumor necrosis factor-1alfa (TNF-1 alfa), and Interleukin 6 (IL-6) produced by inflammatory macrophage M1 may damage the lung alveoli leading to severe pneumonitis, decreased oxygenation, and potential death despite artificial ventilation. Older patients may not be suitable candidates for pharmaceutical intervention targeting IL-1/6 blockade or artificial ventilation. Low dose total lung (LDTL) irradiation at a single dose of 50 cGy may stop this cytokine cascade, thus preventing, and/or reversing normal organs damage. This therapy has been proven in the past to be effective against pneumonitis of diverse etiology and could be used to prevent death of older infected patients. Thus, LDRT radiotherapy may be a cost-effective treatment for this frail patient population whom radiation -induced malignancy is not a concern because of their advanced age. This hypothesis should be tested in future prospective trials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-493
Number of pages5
JournalAging & Disease
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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