Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Step 6: Direct Hit

More precise radiation therapy may offer options to lung cancer patients with inoperable tumors

Lung cancer patients usually require 20 to 30 rounds of radiation to stop the tumor growth. But, a more accurately aimed radiation therapy may be able to do the trick for patients with inoperable tumors in just three treatments, according to recent study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Think power in numbers. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) directs several beams to hit at the exact point of the tumor. Each relatively weak beam enters the body from a slightly different angle, leaving little damage in patients' surrounding tissue. But, when they converge, the beams take a powerful strike at the cancer.

Dr. Robert Timmerman, vice chairman of radiation oncology at the UT Medical Center who led the study, treated 55 lung cancer patients with three outpatient treatments of SBRT. Surgery was not a treatment option for any of the participants because of non-related medical conditions. The treatments stopped the growth of the original tumor in nearly 98 percent of the patients. And 56 percent of the participants survived beyond three years past treatment.

Controlling the primary tumor is essential, according to the UT Medical Center’s press release on the study. So, the researchers concluded SBRT offers a lot of potential to lung cancer patients with inoperable tumors. Timmerman’s team plans further research to compare SBRT results to surgery outcomes in patients eligible for surgery, which could lead to fast, less-invasive treatment.

Read more details of the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2010, here. Read more about Timmerman’s work at UT Medical Center here.

No comments:

Post a Comment