Targeted High Dose Radiation To Help Severely Ill Lung Cancer Patients

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : October 30, 2021

Targeted high-dose radiation treatment may stop the growth of tumors in patients severely ill with lung cancer, research shows. This would work wonders for those who don’t respond to drugs.

The study was done among patients whose lung cancer had spread to other parts of the body. Their responses to conventional treatments; targeted drug treatment, immune system therapies, and chemotherapy. The therapies were successful in suppressing certain distant tumors, but not all.

Targeted High Dose Radiation To Help Severely Ill Lung Cancer Patients

The trial showed that the application of targeted high-dose radiation to the sites where other treatments failed worked wonders. It allowed severely ill lung-cancer patients a progression-free life up to 308 days.

This implies that 50% of those who received the treatment remained stable for longer. It was shorter for the other 50%. This, according to them, is five times longer than the patients who received conventional treatments.

Targeted High Dose Radiation To Help Severely Ill Lung Cancer Patients

The study shows that the radiation treatment may extend the life of patients severely ill with lung cancer longer when compared to other treatments.

Patients, in general, respond well to conventional treatments. But certain lesions refuse to go. Doctors may require the targeted high-dose radiation treatment to stop such lesions from growing. Doctors use this treatment based on the individual evaluation of a patient.

The tactics, however, remained untested until now. At present, their studies are going on in the field.

The evidence available at present is not enough for medical science to request the healthcare sector to adopt it as part of standard treatment. But this one is the first among the formal studies that allow it to request for its application in situations where systemic agents fail to prevent the tumors from growing.

The researchers need to conduct a phase 3 trial to request it to adopt this as part of the general treatment for lung cancer.

Researchers presented their findings on Sunday, during the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Findings that researchers present in such meetings are treated preliminary. They become scientific inventions only after being peer-reviewed and published in a journal.

Researchers conducted their trial among 102 patients. 58 among them had metastatic lung cancer and 44 participants were breast-cancer patients. All those who participated in the trial had 1-5 lesions that were spreading to other organs despite conventional treatment. The team randomly selected patients; either to have stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) or standard treatment.

Lung-cancer patients who received SRBT had progression-free survival of up to 308 days. The same for those who received standard care was 63 days. They, however, did not notice any change in those who had breast cancer.

This, according to them, maybe the result of the biological differences between the two. In breast cancer patients, the treatment was effective. But new lessons came up.

A clearer understanding of the results requires more studies. The team also wants to understand the distinct characteristic that makes certain patients more responsive to the radiation treatment.

Side effects may vary based on the part of the body that receives radiation. For instance, if it is given to the bones, the patient may experience a flare-up of pain. If it is administered to the lungs, they may experience inflammation. Eight of the patients who received the treatment experienced moderate to severe side effects.

Phase 3 trials have not yet been done. However, patients similar to those participating in the trials may receive this treatment. Experts are of the view that if a patient responds well to standard care and has a few spots that don’t respond to it, this option may be of help.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy has been used for a long. And it is available across the globe.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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