SBRT ups survival rates for inoperable lung cancer patients

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) could offer patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) higher overall survival rates with lower toxicity than conventional radiation therapy, according to research presented Oct. 29 at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in Boston.

“[SBRT] should be the new standard replacing conventional radiotherapy for this population of patients,” Yasushi Nagata, MD, of Hiroshima University, Japan, said in a press release.

To evaluate the safety and efficacy of SBRT, Nagata and colleagues studied the results from 100 patients with inoperable NSCLC from June 2004 to November 2008 from 15 institutions throughout Japan. Patients were treated with 48 Gy at the isocenter in four fractions for four to eight days. Median follow-up was 37 months.

The researchers reported that after three years, patients’ overall survival rate was 59.9 percent. Progression-free survival was 49.8 percent, local progression-free survival was 52.8 percent and event-free survival was 46.8 percent.

Mild toxicity was shown, according to Nagata and colleagues. Of grade 3 adverse events, 10 percent of patients experienced dyspnea, 8 percent experience hypoxia, 7 percent experienced pneumonitis, 2 percent experienced chest pain and 1 percent experienced cough. Only 2 percent experienced grade 4 adverse events and there were no grade 5 adverse events observed.

The study follows a 2010 report by the researchers that showed favorable results for SBRT use on patients with operable NSCLC.