A new research for lung cancer patients has revealed that IMRT has lesser side effects and better tolerance of chemotherapy than conventional radiation therapy.
An analysis of an international, cooperative-led trial of patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has shown that those who received intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) had less severe lung toxicity and were able to better tolerate their chemotherapy, compared to patients who received 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT).
According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, 221,200 will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 and 158,040 will die from the disease – making it the deadliest of all cancers. About a third of all lung cancers are diagnosed when the cancer is locally advanced, said lead author Stephen Chun of The University of Texas. The standard of care for locally advanced lung cancer is concurrent chemotherapy and radiation, with most patients receiving either 3-D CRT or IMRT.
For decades, 3-D CRT has been the standard of care for the treatment of lung cancer. The technique shapes radiation beams aimed in straight lines to match the shape of the tumor. In contrast, IMRT is a newer, more-advanced technique that sculpts and molds radiation beams to tumor targets, using substantially more complex radiation beam arrangements than 3D-CRT. In turn, IMRT can spare more normal tissue than 3D-CRT with high doses of radiation, explained Chun.
IMRT was developed more than a decade ago and because it’s been shown to reduce toxicity, it has been accepted to treat prostate, brain, and head & neck cancers, said Chun, adding “this is the first analysis of a prospective clinical trial to show a reduction of toxicity associated with IMRT in locally advanced lung cancer and could lead to a major change in the way radiation therapy is delivered for the disease.”
The study has been presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s 57th Annual Meeting.