New study shows : CyberKnife Radiosurgery for the treatment of Lung Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and will account for approximately 29 percent of all cancer deaths in 2008.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and will account for approximately 29 percent of all cancer deaths in 2008. In fact, since 1987 more women have died each year from lung cancer than from breast cancer. The ACS projects that more than 215,000 new cases of lung cancer will be discovered in 2008, accounting for 15 percent of all cancer diagnoses.

Accuray Incorporated, one of the leaders in the in the field of radiosurgery, announced that emerging clinical data continues to support CyberKnife radiosurgery for the treatment of lung cancer, following a study published in the July 2008 issue of Clinical Lung Cancer.

As scientific evidence mounts, physician usage and patient demand are increasing dramatically – over the past 12 month period, the number of lung patients treated with the CyberKnife System has grown by nearly 50 percent and more than 6,000 lung cancer patients have been treated to date.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in Pittsburgh, Pa., conducted a study, titled “Fractionated Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Primary,  Recurrent, and Metastatic Lung Tumors”, and followed three patient populations over an average 12 month period: 1) patients with primary stage I non-small cell lung cancer, 2) patients whose cancer recurred after it was surgically removed, and 3) patients with metastatic tumors in the lung. All patients were treated with CyberKnife radiosurgery over a three-day period as outpatients.  These patients had limited treatment options because they were medically inoperable (unable to undergo surgery due to pre-existing medical conditions or prior surgery) or refused surgery.

The tumor control and survival outcomes were excellent in the first year following treatment. Control of tumor growth was achieved in 85 percent of primary cancer patients, 92 percent of recurrent lung cancer patients, and 62 percent of metastatic cancer patients during the first year of follow-up. This is drastically different from response rates for radiation therapy in this patient population, which are typically associated with poor local control and survival rates ranging from 10 to 30 percent at five-year follow-up, as noted within the study.

Additionally the study reported few of the complications or side effects that are typical with radiation or other more invasive treatments within the first 12 months of follow-up.  Both invasive surgery and conventional radiation therapy can be associated with post-treatment complications that can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life.  In addition, unlike conventional radiation therapy that is typically delivered over four to six weeks, patients completed CyberKnife treatment in three short outpatient visits.  This is extremely significant for patients with a potentially life-threatening disease because it allows them to preserve their lifestyle and spend their time with family instead of taking trips to and from the hospital and spending months in treatment.

Dwight Heron, M.D., chairman of the radiation oncology department at UPMC Shadyside said, The CyberKnife System’s ability to non-invasively treat lung cancer with favorable local control rates and minimal toxicities make it an important tool in the fight against lung cancer.  As demonstrated by our study, this is particularly important for patients who previously had few or no other options because it gives them a chance for a positive outcome while maintaining their quality of life

UPMC treated all the study participants using the Synchrony® Respiratory Tracking System, which is the only System in the world that can deliver beams that physically move in real-time with 3D tumor motion. The technology allows patients to breath normally throughout the treatment, while still achieving pinpoint precision and minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. According to the study, Synchrony “can allow for reductions in planning target volume margins because of less movement uncertainty while maintaining the desired level of accuracy.

Euan S. Thomson, Ph.D., president and CEO of Accuray Incorporated said, With each year that clinical studies are completed and published, we see physician confidence increase and patient demand grow dramatically.  This increase in momentum for CyberKnife radiosurgery worldwide is offering physicians a better way to treat lung cancer and patients a better option for a quick and complication-free recovery.

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