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Photon Radiation More Effective Than Proton Beam Against Spinal Cord Tumor

by Gopalan on  December 29, 2010 at 10:35 AM Cancer News   - G J E 4
 Photon Radiation More Effective Than Proton Beam Against Spinal Cord Tumor
The photon-based radiation therapy could turn out to be more effective than the proton beam against spinal cord tumor. New research shows that the photon therapy does ensure better long-term survival.
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This is the first study to report the long-term outcomes of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by modern radiotherapy techniques, the researchers say. Gliomas, which represent most spinal cord tumors, develop in about 17,000 Americans annually, and 13,000 die from them.

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"Our findings need to be verified in a larger number of patients, but they suggest that individuals younger than age 54, those with ependymomas and those treated with photon-based therapy versus proton-beam treatment have better overall survival," says principal investigator Dr. Arnab Chakravarti, chair and professor of Radiation Oncology and co-director of the Brain Tumor Program at The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

"Perhaps most surprising is that the subset of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by protons appears to do worse, even though they have more favorable pretreatment demographics," Chakravarti says. "This certainly warrants validation in a larger subset of patients."

Surgery is the standard therapy for spinal-cord tumors, and it is often followed by radiotherapy. But whether all patients or only certain patients should receive radiation therapy is controversial, Chakravarti says.

The research is published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

The retrospective study examined the long-term outcomes of 32 patients with primary spinal-cord gliomas. Twenty-two of the patients were treated with photon-beam radiation therapy (such as 3-D conformal radiation and intensity-modulated radiotherapy), and 10 were treated with proton-beam therapy.

The five-year overall survival rate was 65 percent and the progression free survival was 61 percent for the group. The study also showed poorer overall survival for the following patients:

Those age 55 and older.

Those with astrocytomas versus ependymomas.

Those who had a biopsy versus those whose tumor was surgically removed.

Funding from the National Cancer Institute and the Brain Tumor Funders Collaborative Group supported this research.



Source: Medindia
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