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According to an article recently published in the journal Cancer, a single-dose of stereotactic radiation therapy prevents cancer recurrences at or near the site of cancer in patients with early non–small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) refers to the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 75–80% of all lung cancers in the U.S.

Early NSCLC refers to cancer that has not spread from its site of origin. Standard therapy for early NSCLC is surgery to remove the cancer and surrounding tissues (if possible), radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. For patients with inoperable early NSCLC or those who refuse surgery, radiation therapy is the main component of therapy.

Radiation therapy has historically required multiple sessions over several weeks to finish one course. However, newer radiation therapy techniques have emerged that often require fewer radiation sessions. Stereotactic radiation is a type of radiation that provides large doses of radiation directly to the cancer while sparing surrounding tissues from side effects. As healthy tissues are spared, larger doses of radiation may be used to fight the cancer.

Researchers from Germany recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate a single dose of stereotactic radiation therapy in the treatment of 42 patients with early NSCLC that was considered inoperable.

Table 1: Survival and Local Control Rates for Treatment with a Single Dose of Stereotactic Radiation Therapy

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Additional findings of this study include the following:

  • 31% of patients developed cancer spread to distant sites in the body.
  • Patients treated with higher doses had greater local control than those treated with lower doses.

The researchers concluded that a single dose of stereotactic radiation therapy provides effective disease control among patients with early NSCLC who are not eligible for surgery. Patients with NSCLC who are to undergo radiation therapy may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of stereotactic radiation.

Reference: Hof H, Muenter M, Oetzel D, et al. Stereotactic single-dose radiotherapy (radiosurgery) of early stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Cancer. 2007;110:148-155.

Related News:Single-Dose Stereotactic Radiation Therapy Effective for Small Lung Tumors (3/20/2006)

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