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American Society for Radiation Oncology Oct. 2-6 2011

The 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology

The annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology was held from Oct. 2 to 6 in Miami Beach, and attracted approximately 12,000 participants from around the world, including physicians, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, biologists, physicists, and other cancer researchers. The conference featured educational courses focusing on radiation, surgical, and medical oncology. It also included more than 200 concurrent sessions and several general sessions as well as more than 1,400 posters addressing cancer research.

In one late-breaking study, Jeffrey Bradley, M.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues found that a higher radiation dose of 74 Gy did not improve overall survival in patients with stage III, non-small-cell lung cancer compared with the standard radiation dose of 60 Gy.

"In a phase III randomized trial, we evaluated whether a higher dose of radiation (74 Gy) would provide a greater improvement in overall survival as compared to the standard dose of radiation (60 Gy) in patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer," Bradley explained. "We also aimed to evaluate whether cetuximab with or without chemotherapy and radiation improved overall survival in stage III non-small-cell lung cancer patients."

The investigators randomized 423 patients to one of four treatment arms, including a radiation dose of 60 Gy or 74 Gy and concurrent chemotherapy of paclitaxel and carboplatin with or without cetuximab.

"We found that 74 Gy of radiation did not improve overall survival as compared to 60 Gy of radiation. Therefore, 60 Gy should remain the standard radiation dose for the treatment of patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer undergoing treatment with concurrent chemotherapy," Bradley said.

Abstract No. LB2

In another study, Thomas Churilla, of the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Pa., and colleagues found that low vitamin D levels were common in cancer patients and were associated with more advanced staged cancer.

"We aimed to first evaluate the vitamin D status of patients with cancer and then to determine the implication of vitamin D status on stage or grade of tumor," Churilla said.

Among 160 patients, the investigators found that low levels of vitamin D were widespread, with 74 percent having a vitamin D level of less than 30 ng/mL and one-third having a vitamin D level of less than 20 ng/mL.

"We found that patients with low vitamin D status were more likely to have advanced staged cancer, which adds to the growing body of evidence that low vitamin D status may be associated with prognosis or outcomes," Churilla said. "We believe that further study in this field is required to help us better understand the relationship between vitamin D status and cancer. We have a future study planned and initiated."

Abstract No. 2974

Aaron Kusano, M.D., of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues found that a high number of cancer care physicians initiated follow-up with family members and caregivers of patients who died, but most physicians did not feel that they were adequately trained on bereavement practices.

"We evaluated the bereavement practices among cancer care and palliative care physicians in the Northwest United States and found that 70 percent of survey respondents were routinely initiating some form of contact with family and/or caregivers after a patient had died. The most common form of follow-up was a condolence letter," Kusano said. "This may be an overestimate due to the fact that those completing our survey may have been more likely to engage in bereavement follow-up."

The investigators also found that 68 percent of respondents felt they were not adequately trained in bereavement practices.

"While a high number of cancer care physicians initiate some form of follow-up with a patient's family after a death, we need to continue to improve the training of new physicians so that they feel comfortable meeting the needs of patients and families throughout the course of their disease," Kusano added.

Abstract No. 2749

ASTRO: Fewer Side Effects With IMRT for Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of localized prostate cancer using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is associated with a considerable reduction in late bowel and rectal side effects and significantly decreased rectal and bladder toxicity compared to three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), according to a study presented the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 2 to 6 in Miami Beach.

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ASTRO: New Chemo, Radiation Combo Suggested in Rectal Cancer

MONDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with rectal cancer, preoperative treatment with a combination of capecitabine and radiation at 50 Gy is associated with favorable outcomes at three years, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 2 to 6 in Miami Beach.

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ASTRO: Hypofractionated IMRT Practical Approach in Prostate CA

THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Hypofractionated intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and conventional IMRT therapy are equally effective in decreasing recurrence of intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer at five years, according to a study presented at the anual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 2 to 6 in Miami Beach.

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