The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has released its Emerging Technology Committee's report evaluating the use of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) in lung cancer treatment.
SBRT is a newer radiation therapy treatment that uses focused radiation beams to target a well-defined tumor and relies on detailed imaging, computerized three-dimensional treatment planning and precise treatment setup to deliver the radiation dose with extreme accuracy to any part of the body, excluding the brain or spine. It typically uses higher radiation doses in fewer treatments than other standard treatments.
Historically, the preferred treatment for lung cancer patients is surgery, but numerous lung cancer patients are unfit for surgery due to the presence of other medical conditions, such as cardiopulmonary disease related to chronic smoking, that put them at an unacceptably high risk of surgical morbidity and mortality. Traditionally six to seven weeks of radiation have been used for this group of patients, but studies showed a high risk of local failure.
Better response rates have been seen with smaller tumors and higher radiation doses, which is the technique employed by SBRT. This report states that SBRT is a good alternative to standard radiation for lung cancer patients who cannot receive surgery or refuse surgery because it uses high radiation doses in fewer treatments, thus minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissue.
"Stereotactic radiotherapy is potentially more effective in tumor killing by delivering a few very large doses of daily radiotherapy from which cells will have limited ability to recover," Andre Konski, M.D., M.B.A., ASTRO's Emerging Technology Committee chair and chair of radiation oncology at Wayne State University in Detroit, said. "The committee believes that some lung cancer patients will greatly benefit from this treatment as it will shorten their treatment time and improve their quality of life."
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To access the full Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) for Lung Cancer report, visit www.astro.org/HealthPolicy/EmergingTechnology/EvaluationProjects/documents/LungSBRT.pdf