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ASTRO: Radiation Beneficial in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Cranial irradiation prevents brain metastases; stereotactic radiotherapy benefits frail patients

TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with non-small cell lung cancer, prophylactic cranial irradiation may help prevent brain metastases, and stereotactic radiotherapy may arrest the growth of lung cancer in frail patients, according to research presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Nov. 1 to 5 in Chicago.

Benjamin Movsas, M.D., of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and colleagues randomly assigned 340 patients with stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer to receive either prophylactic cranial irradiation or observation. They found that prophylactic cranial irradiation was associated with a lower rate of brain metastasis (8 versus 18 percent), but also with a higher rate of short and long-term memory loss.

Robert D. Timmerman, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues studied 55 frail, inoperable patients who received stereotactic radiotherapy at a dose of 54 Gy in three fractions. They found that therapy arrested the growth of cancer at its original site in 98 percent of patients, 48 percent of whom survived for three years with no sign of disease recurrence. A third study showed that chronic chest wall pain is twice as likely to develop in obese early-stage lung cancer patients who undergo stereotactic radiotherapy than in those with a lower body mass index.

"The study shows that physiological factors, such as obesity and diabetes, can play a major role in the development of radiation-related toxicity," James Welsh, M.D., of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and lead author of the third study, said in a statement.

Abstract - Movsas
Abstract - Timmerman
Abstract - Welsh
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