IMRT May Be the Better Treatment Choice for Lung Cancer Treatment
As thousands of Americans face down a diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer each year, researchers are continually working to develop the best possible treatment methods. The aim is to beat the cancer while lowering the impacts on patients in the process. A new study out of the University of Texas is shedding light on the potential benefits intensity-modulated radiation therapy may offer.
Researchers at the Anderson Cancer Center in Houston conducted a secondary analysis of data collected during a trial. The data pertained to 482 patients who underwent radiation therapy between 2007 and 2011. Of those patients, 47 percent underwent 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy while 53 percent were treated with IMRT. All patients also had concurrent chemotherapy.
In looking at the numbers, researchers found that IMRT appeared to ease the toxicity of treatment while also helping with chemotherapy tolerance. One of the biggest findings what that 44 percent fewer cases of severe pneumonitis developed in patients treated with IMRT despite an estimated 3.5 percent of this group having larger tumors. What’s more, about 37 percent of patients in the IMRT group were able to complete consolidative chemotherapy versus 29 percent of those who underwent 3-D CRT treatments.
While more study is needed, researchers point to the potential benefits IMRT may have in helping patients with non-small cell lung cancer. This form of radiation is considered much more highly targeted than other alternatives. Although quite effective at killing cancer cells, IMRT is delivered in a manner that minimizes damage to surrounding, healthy tissues.
People who are diagnosed with lung cancer should carefully review their treatment options with their healthcare providers. The best recommendations for treatment will hinge on a patient’s unique case. Surgical procedures, radiation and chemotherapy may all be required to effectively treat the disease or enhance longevity.