Study: CyberKnife spinal tumor treatments on the rise

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Recent clinical data has shown that the use of the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System from Accuray Inc. in the treatment of spinal tumors increased 56 percent from December 2005 to December 2006. This non-invasive procedure that avoids potential damage to the spinal cord has gained additional validation through a study of 500 spinal tumor patients that was published in the Jan. 15 issue of the journal Spine.

Tumors in the spine are difficult to remove and treat with radiation because of their close proximity to the spinal cord.
“Because the spine moves, there is a high risk with treatments such as those delivered by radiation therapy devices that the spinal cord could move into the radiation field,” said Eric P. Lindquist, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Accuray. He adds that by using the CyberKnife System, which is able to track tumor and patient movement during treatment, “the risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue and critical structures, like the spinal cord, is minimized.”

The CyberKnife Xsight Spine Tracking System uses the internal anatomy to directly track tumors with radiosurgical precision without the need for external frames or implanted fiducials. The system registers unique non-rigid and bony anatomy landmarks to track, detect and correct for the movement of the spine in real-time throughout the treatment. Also, it allows doctors to deliver high doses of radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy while avoiding damage to healthy tissue, the company said.

“We’ve had tremendous success with the CyberKnife System in treating patients with complex spinal tumors,” said Dr. Peter Gerszten, lead author of the study. “The results of our study demonstrate the CyberKnife System’s effectiveness in controlling tumor progression and minimizing any associated side effects.”

The study, Radiosurgery for Spinal Metastases: Clinical Experience in 500 Cases From a Single Institution, was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, and included 500 patients ages 18 to 85 with tumors in all parts of the spine.