Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Is Safe and Effective in Early-Stage Lung Cancer

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), a type of radiotherapy that uses high doses of radiation given over a comparatively small number of sessions, is the treatment of choice for patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who cannot undergo surgery because of other medical problems. However, until now the use of SBRT for these patients was based on limited evidence. A systematic study spanning several institutes found that SBRT (sometimes also called stereotactic ablative radiotherapy or SABR) for stage I NSCLC was safe and effective. Higher radiation doses were associated with better outcomes.

Analysis Highlights Most Cost-Effective Treatments for Early-Stage Lung Cancer

Researchers have constructed a model to assess the cost-effectiveness of different treatments for stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) based on treatment costs, predicted life expectancy, and expected quality of life. Model simulations indicate that lobectomy (removal of an entire subsection of the lungs) is the most cost-effective treatment for patients whose cancer is clearly operable. For patients who are only borderline eligible for surgery due to poor health (‘marginally operable’), who often cannot withstand lobectomy, a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), also known as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), was found to be more cost-effective than wedge resection (removal of a small piece of lung containing the cancer).

Reduced-Duration, High-Intensity Radiation Therapy Appears Safe and Effective for NSCLC

A recent study found stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to be safe and effective for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment, offering better tumor control, lower toxicity, and greater convenience than conventional radiation therapy. The retrospective study focused on patients with NSCLC who could not be treated with surgery. Outcomes were especially beneficial for tumors that were smaller and had lower metabolism (measured by sugar absorption rate). SABR, also called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), uses higher doses of radiation over a smaller number of sessions compared to conventional radiation therapy.