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ASTRO: SBRT Ups Survival in Older Early-Stage NSCLC Patients

Findings suggest SBRT should be standard for patients treated with radiation for stage I NSCLC

cancer xray

TUESDAY, Sept. 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) seems to provide a significant survival advantage for older patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 25 to 28 in Boston.

In the first study, Andrew Farach, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, and colleagues reviewed records for patients 60 and older diagnosed with stage I NSCLC between 2004 and 2012. During that period, two-year survival rates for patients treated with radiation therapy rose from 39 percent in 2004 to 58 percent in 2012. Two-year survival rates for surgery-only patients rose from 79 percent in 2004 to 84 percent in 2014.

The second study focused on 1,671 VA patients with stage I NSCLC. Their average age was 72. Some received standard radiation, and 468 were given SBRT. Researchers found that four-year survival rates for patients who underwent radiation therapy increased from 12.7 percent in 2001 to 28.5 percent in 2011. At the same time, use of SBRT increased from 4.7 percent in 2001 to 60.3 percent in 2011. Further analysis revealed that SBRT was associated with a reduced mortality risk of 28.0 percent compared with conventional radiation therapy.

"It is very rare for a study to show that double the number of patients were likely to be alive at four years due to the introduction of a new treatment," study author Matthew Boyer, M.D., Ph.D., of Duke University in Durham, N.C., said in a news release from the American Society for Radiation Oncology. "We identified that this doubling was due to the introduction of these advanced radiation techniques collectively termed SBRT. Although a number of studies are underway to define the best treatment for stage I NSCLC, our study, and others, indicate that advances in radiation treatment and delivery can improve patient survival and that SBRT should be the standard treatment for patients treated with radiation for stage I NSCLC."

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