New Data Supports Use of SBRT in Elderly Patients with Early-Stage Lung Cancer

New data from a recent study titled “Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy in Octo- and Nonagenarians for the Treatment of Early-Stage Lung Cancer” demonstrated that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a safe treatment option for early-stage lung cancer patients aged 80 or older.

The study, which was published in The Red Journal, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, evaluated safety and efficacy outcomes of 1,083 patient reports collected in a multi-institutional database.

Patients were treated with SBRT for early-stage lung cancer between 2004 and 2014 and followed for a median of 1.7 years.  The group included 305 patients under 70 years of age, 448 patients ages 70 to 79 years, and 330 patients aged 80 years or more (which included 16 patients aged 90 years or more).  The median age was 75 years (range 41 to 94).  Results show no significant differences among the three age groups with respect to 2-year local recurrence, regional recurrence, distant metastases, or the incidence of grade 3 or higher toxicity.  Cause-specific survival was similar among all three age groups (90.3% to 90.6%) and two-year overall survival was lower in older patients, which is likely related to other medical issues.

Lead author of the study, Meredith Giuliani, MBBS, FRCPC, Med, said, “Older patients are often not considered for radiation therapy due to concerns about their ability to tolerate treatment.  The results of our study clearly support the use of SBRT for elderly patients, especially those who may not be able to tolerate longer courses of radiotherapy or more invasive treatment options.  Radiation oncologists need to work closely with our peers in other parts of the medical community to ensure that patients with diagnosed or suspected early-lung cancer are evaluated for potential treatment with SBRT regardless of age.”

At New Jersey CyberKnife, patients diagnosed with lung cancer, or inoperable lung tumors, are treated with SBRT using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive outpatient cancer treatment with minimal to no side effects.  During the CyberKnife treatment, hundreds of highly concentrated and incredibly precise beams of radiation are targeted directly to tumors and lesions in the lung.  As the patient breathes during the CyberKnife treatment, the CyberKnife robotic arm moves with the rise and fall of his/her body – meaning that healthy tissue is protected from radiation and only the tumor is treated.

To learn more about how New Jersey CyberKnife treats lung cancer with CyberKnife technology, please click here or contact our center today.