Study Confirms Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy Effectiveness for Early-Stage Lung Cancer

According to research from a phase III randomized international study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, patients with operable stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) could achieve better overall survival rates if treated with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), rather than the current standard of care of invasive surgery.  The findings, published in The Lancet Oncology, are from the first randomized clinical trials comparing SABR and surgery. 

The results of this study are timely and significant because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States.  The American Cancer Society reports that over half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed, and, according to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 158,040 Americans are expected to die from the disease in 2015. 

For decades, the standard treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer has been surgery, but the procedure can be difficult for patients with poor lung function, such as those with emphysema and pulmonary hypertension.  SABR for lung cancer may offer a treatment option to patients who are not candidates for surgery, because of tumor size or location or heart disease. 

At San Francisco CyberKnife, we treat lung cancer patients with SABR using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive, outpatient treatment with minimal side effects.  During the CyberKnife treatment, hundreds of highly concentrated and precise beams of radiation are targeted directly at tumors and lesions in the lung.  As the patient breathes during the treatment, the CyberKnife robotic arm moves with the rise and fall of the chest and the movement of the tumor.  This allows for minimal exposure of radiation to healthy tissue while the tumor is eradicated. 

For more information about lung cancer, please click here.  To learn more about how San Francisco CyberKnife treats lung cancer, or watch a CyberKnife patient education video about lung cancer treatment, please click here.