TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Though stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is currently used as a treatment for various solid malignant tumors, there is a lack of evidence confirming its effectiveness and safety, according to a review published online May 2 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Kelley Tipton, M.P.H., from the ECRI Institute in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and colleagues reviewed the available literature from medical databases to provide an overview of the current state of SBRT as a treatment for solid malignant tumors. A total of 124 relevant studies were identified, which were categorized according to cancer type and study selection process.
The investigators found that the most commonly represented tumor sites were the lung or thorax (68 studies), pancreas, liver, and colon. Fewer than 10 studies were identified for tumors in the uterus, pelvis, kidney, thyroid, and prostate; and 10 studies included multiple sites. Photon radiation was used in all studies, and the doses and fractions of SBRT varied depending on the type of cancer and tumor location. Studies were prospective single-group and retrospective single-group, and had variable numbers of patients and follow-up times. None of the studies compared SBRT with any other form of radiation treatment, although there is one current trial involving a comparison. Outcomes assessed were most commonly tumor response, local control, overall survival, and toxicity. Adverse events were reported in 113 studies and were most frequently pain, fatigue, nausea, bleeding, and diarrhea.
"A full systematic review of the current literature cannot answer questions on the effectiveness and safety of SBRT compared with other radiotherapy interventions," the authors write.