Stereotactic radiotherapy offers noninvasive, effective treatment for lung cancer patients

November 02, 2009

DALLAS - Nov. 2, 2009 - Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) should be considered a new standard of care for early-stage lung cancer treatment in patients with co-existing medical problems, according to results from a national clinical trial led by UT Southwestern Medical Center physicians.

In this study, 55 patients diagnosed with early non-small-cell lung (NSCL) cancer and unable to have their tumors surgically removed because of unrelated medical comorbidities were treated with SBRT during three noninvasive outpatient treatments.

The most recent findings, presented today in Chicago at the 51st annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, show that the primary lung cancer did not recur 98 percent of the time. Despite their extreme frailty, more than half of these patients - 56 percent - were alive three years after diagnosis, while less than 20 percent ultimately died of metastatic lung cancer.

"These findings have changed the standard of care for lung cancer in patients with serious medical problems like emphysema, heart disease and strokes," said Dr. Robert Timmerman, vice chairman of radiation oncology at UT Southwestern and principal investigator of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0236 study.

SBRT delivers multiple high-dose radiation beams to a tumor in a concentrated, extremely precise manner. Each of these beams is relatively weak and causes very little damage when traveling through the patient's body, but when all the beams converge at the target their cumulative effect delivers an extremely potent dose aimed at destroying the target cells with great precision.

"Despite the high potency of the treatment, less than 20 percent of these extremely frail patients experienced a serious health decline," said Dr. Timmerman, considered one of the top international experts on stereotactic radiotherapy.

Dr. Timmerman said the study results were better than researchers had expected and are similar to the risks for healthier patients who undergo radical surgery - the standard treatment for early-stage NSCL cancer for the past century.

"The findings support the ongoing clinical research in healthier patients who currently undergo surgery for early-stage NSCL cancer," Dr. Timmerman said. "SBRT is fast, convenient and very effective."

Dr. Timmerman and his team, hoping to find out if the treatment indications might be expanded in a new trial, currently are conducting clinical studies using SBRT in healthier patients who would otherwise be candidates for surgery.
Participants are still being recruited for the study. To qualify, patients must have early-stage NSCL cancer but otherwise have no other medical problems. For more information, contact Alida Perkins at 214-645-7633.

Both studies are supported by the National Cancer Institute.

Visit to learn more about clinical services for cancer at UT Southwestern.This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at

Dr. Robert Timmerman --,2356,69821,00.html

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to