Stereotactic body radiation slows lung cancer

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health), May 22 - Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) appears to be highly effective for treating certain patients with non-small cell lung cancer, providing a three-year local tumor control rate of 90% or higher with minor toxicity, Scandinavian researchers report in a May 4 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"SBRT, developed at (our) hospital," lead investigator Dr. Pia Baumann told Reuters Health, has been shown to be "very efficient in eradicating the tumor with only limited side effects in patients with medically inoperable stage I non-small cell lung cancer."

Baumann of Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm, and colleagues conducted a phase II trial that included 40 patients with stage I tumors and 17 with stage II tumors who underwent SBRT every second day for a median of five days of treatment.

At one year, overall survival was 88% and cancer-specific survival was 93%. At three years, progression-free survival was 52%, overall survival was 60%, and cancer-specific survival was 88%. There was no significant survival difference between patients with T1 and T2 tumors.

At a median follow-up of 35 months, seven patients had died from lung cancer and 20 from concurrent disease. Estimated local control at three years was 92%. The estimated risk of failure due to local, regional, or distant metastases was significantly greater in patients with T2 tumors than in those with T1 tumors (41% versus 18%).

The researchers suggest that based on these findings, SBRT "may even challenge surgery in operable instances."

"Several clinical trials in other countries are now under way to confirm these data," Baumann added. "SBRT is also useful for treating metastatic tumors in diverse organs."

J Clin Oncol 2009;27.

Last Updated: 2009-05-21 12:33:00 -0400 (Reuters Health)

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