BOSTON, MA Doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are developing new ways to more effectively treat lung cancer with radiation therapy by using enhanced imaging to better define tumors during treatment planning, and delivering higher doses with fewer side effects. Center researchers will present preliminary findings on these promising techniques at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Boston this week.
Approximately 175,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in the US this year. It is the most common cause of cancer-related death among both men and women, accounting for 28 percent of all cancer deaths in the country. Because of limitations in diagnostic testing, the disease is often discovered at a more advanced stage when it is more difficult to treat. Radiation therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment option for patients in whom the cancer is inoperable when it has spread beyond the lung but is confined to the chest.
One study being presented highlights the use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET), which is a more sensitive imaging technique than Computed Tomography (CT), to identify lesions, determine the extent and spread of the cancer, and detect the presence of early disease in the lymph nodes. Cancer causes changes and obstructions in the lung tissue that make it difficult to clearly see the tumor when planning radiation treatment. PET improves the accuracy of radiation therapy by better contrasting and delineating the lung tumors and normal tissue during the planning done prior to treatment.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers will report that each of the ten patients evaluated in the study have had changes made to their treatment plan as a result of PET data the area intended to receive radiation was increased in six patients and decreased in four patients. Using this sophisticated approach to accurately distinguish between cancerous and healthy tissue
Contact: Esther Carver
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center