A novel technique to treat lung cancer at Temple University might double a person's chances of surviving the deadly disease, and that too without the need of conventional radiation regimen or surgery.
Called stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), the technique not only improves a person's odds of surviving early stage lung cancer, but may also reduce the need for future surgeries, according to doctors in the Radiation Oncology Department.
"This is a big trend in radiation oncology for early stage lung cancer patients who either can't undergo surgery or refuse it. With the success of this technique, we're now questioning whether we'll even be doing surgeries on these patients in the future," said Curtis Miyamoto, chair and professor of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the School of Medicine.
The treatment of lung cancer with conventional radiation is quite burdensome because patients have to receive radiation therapy five days a week for six to seven weeks, making it difficult for people not living in the city.
Comparatively, SBRT requires only three to eight treatments, not 35. Once malignancy is confirmed through a PET CT scan or biopsy, treatments can begin.
Patients are placed in an immobilizing body frame to reduce movement so that doctors can focus radiation on the tumor while reducing exposure of healthy tissue.
Although both traditional treatments and SBRT methods involve radiation, SBRT administers large, highly precise doses instead of multiple smaller doses.
For those who undergo SBRT, the median survival range is more than 32 months.
And depending on the size and seriousness of the tumor, the two-year disease free survival, or cure rate through SBRT increases to approximately 81 percent and can reach up to 98 percent.
SBRT doubles the odds of surviving early stage lung cancer and can actually cure at least half of the patients.
"Such high survival rates are equivalent to other techniques, like invasive surgery, but you don't have to go under the knife. I think the big thing the patient notices is it's all done very quickly and the results are impressive," said Miyamoto.
The study has been published in the International Journal of Radiation OncologyBiologyPhysics.