Cyberknife is an advanced non- invasive
radioablation procedure for cancer patients with high specificity for tumor
cells and minimal radiation to the surrounding tissues. This technology is set
to revolutionize cancer care and treatment.
is one of the leading
cancers among men in America, next to skin cancer. 240,000 men in U.S are
diagnosed with prostate cancer with 30,000 deaths each year. Men who are
affected with prostate cancer are usually over 65 years of age with the growth
of this tumor resulting in frequent urination.
‘Cyberknife is a non-invasive alternate treatment method for prostate cancer, reducing overall treatment time and pain for the patients.’
And the disadvantages of the current prostate cancer treatment are,
- Immobilization procedure: Current
radiation methods require patients to be immobilized for a period of time
to prevent movement of the tumor during the procedure. The immobilization
procedures are uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Rectal balloons may
have to be inserted into the rectum to harden it and for better imaging.
This further increases discomfort.
- Duration: Traditional radiotherapy
methods require 8 to 9 sessions. These methods try and focus on the tumor but internal
movements, like movement due to gas, requires coverage of a larger area in
the rectum. The dosage would have to be spaced to reduce damage to healthy
tissues and is therefore spread over 8 to 9 weeks.
- Radiation damage: There is a fair amount of radiation damage to surrounding tissues resulting in side
- Increased risk of Alzheimer's due to Androgen deprivation
therapy(ADT): ADT is a non-invasive procedure
used in the treatment of prostate cancer. Dr Nizam Shah and colleagues
studied patients from Stanford University and Mt. Sinai hospitals to trace
the effects of androgen deprivation therapy on prostate
cancer patients. The study published recently in the Journal
of Clinical Oncology has found an association between the use of ADT and increased
risk of Alzheimer's among prostate cancer patients. 16,000 men
with prostate cancer were studied and it was found that patients
undergoing ADT were twice as likely to get Alzheimer's over the next 2 1/2
years than patients receiving other forms of treatment.
The high prevalence of prostate cancer and
the equally alarming level of side effects require a more stable and effective
treatment procedure. The use of CyberKnife
is considered to be one such treatment
procedure that is set to effectively aid patients with prostate cancer.
Effect of CyberKnife Treatment on 200 Prostate
200 prostate cancer patients were included in
the study and were treated with CyberKnife procedure every other day. The study
performed by Leszek Miszczyk and colleagues from M. Sklodowska- Curie Cancer
Center and Institute of Oncology shows that CyberKnife technology is an
effective treatment method with lower adverse effects. The patients were
followed up to 26 months after treatment and their condition was monitored. The
results showed that only one patient relapsed after CyberKnife treatment during
the period of study, making this a potent treatment method for low risk and
intermediate risk patients.
How CyberKnife Works and its Advantages
- CyberKnife is a non-invasive procedure that uses stereotatic
body radiation treatment method.
- To ensure that the radiation is focused only on the tumor,
fiducials,which are metal tumor markers, are placed in the prostate gland.
- Treatment is restricted to 5 to 6 days with the duration of
each procedure lasting for 30 to 40 minutes. The overall treatment time is
reduced when compared to traditional methods.
- The damage to surrounding tissue is minimal.
- This technique does not require anesthesia.
- Tumors that are hard to reach with conventional surgery can
also be treated with this procedure. It can reach the tumor from any
- It is an outpatient procedure and the person can soon return to
This surgical method in the news a few months back when the wife of Lalit Modi (an Indian businessman, cricket administrator and one of the founders of IPL) was said to have availed the treatment in Portugal
. Cyberknife, however, is available in India too, helping us march ahead in the area of medical care.
Prostate cancer is commonly referred to as
'the silent killer', an adage that refers to the complete lack of symptoms
during the early stages. However, with the advent of medical technology like
CyberKnife, the quality of life for prostate cancer patients looks promising,
limiting pain and prolonged hospital stays.
1. Leszek Miszczyk, Aleksandra Napieralska,
Agnieska Namysl- Kaletka, Grzegorz Glowacki, Kinga Grabinska, Grzorz Wozniak
and Malgorzata Stapor- Fudzinska; "Cyberknife-based prostate cancer patient
radioablation- early results of irradiation in 200 patients"; Central European
Journal of Urology, October 2015
2. Kevin T Nead, Greg Gaskin, Cariad Chester,
Samuel Swisher- McClure, Nicholas J Leeper and Nigam H Shah; "Androgen
deprivation therapy future Alzheimer's disease risk"; Jornal of Clinical