In a nutshell
This study determined whether stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) was more effective than standard radiotherapy in patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer. The study found that SBRT led to better survival outcomes for these patients, with minimal side effects.
Tumor removal by surgery is the standard of care for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, many patients cannot have an operation due to medical conditions like heart disease. For these patients, radiotherapy is a safer treatment option.
SBRT is a special type of radiotherapy. It involves delivering very high doses of radiation to small areas of the body, directly to tumors. Whether this type of therapy is safer and more effective than standard radiotherapy for inoperable NSCLC remains unclear.
Methods & findings
This study involved 101 patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer. 66 patients received SBRT. 35 patients received standard radiotherapy. Patients were followed-up for an average of 2.1 to 2.6 years.
At follow-up, 20% of all patients experienced local tumor growth or spread (cancer progression). More patients who received standard radiotherapy experienced progression compared to patients who received SBRT (31% versus 14%). At 2 years, this rate was 26% vs. 10%.
Average overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause; OS) was significantly longer for SBRT-treated patients compared to patients who received standard radiotherapy (5 years vs. 3 years). At 2 years, OS was 77% vs. 59%.
SBRT therapy was significantly associated with a 68% reduced risk of cancer progression. It was also associated with a 47% lower mortality risk.
The bottom line
The study concluded that SBRT is better than standard radiotherapy for patients with inoperable NSCLC. The authors suggest that SBRT therapy is associated with improved survival for these patients.
The fine print
This study was small. Many patients in this study had a previous cancer. This may limit the conclusions that may be drawn from these results.
Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits of SBRT therapy.
Published By :
The Lancet. Oncology
Feb 12, 2019