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New Radiation treatment in Japan Looks promising.


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Carbon Ion Beam Therapy Effective for Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Researchers from Japan have reported that treatment of stage I non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) with carbon ion beam therapy results in a 95% local control rate with minimal side effects. The details of this study appeared in the March 1, 2007, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics.

Patients with stage I NSCLC can be treated with surgery or radiotherapy. There have been many improvements in the delivery of radiotherapy over the past two decades including 3D and IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy) to deliver more radiation with fewer side effects to tumors. Researchers in Japan and Germany have been evaluating the use of carbon ion beams to further improve the therapeutic index of radiation therapy.

The current study involved 50 patients with stage I NSCLC who were treated with 72 GyE (equivalents) in 9 fractions over 3 weeks. The average age of this population of patients was 74.5 years. Two thirds of the patients in this study were medically inoperable. All patients in this study were followed for a minimum of 5 years. The local control rate was 95% and the 5 year cause-specific survival rate was 76% with an overall survival of 50%. Treatments were well tolerated. These authors stated that this treatment modality improved the quality of life compared to conventional radiotherapy.

Comments: These are interesting results as relatively large doses of radiation were delivered with apparently little toxicity. Studies of carbon ion therapy have been reported from Germany and Japan but not other countries. The availability of this type of therapy may be limited to very specialized centers with the equipment to deliver carbon beam therapy.

Reference: Miyamoto T, Baba M, Yamamoto N, et al. Curative treatment of stage I non-small cell lung cancer with carbon ion beams using a hypofractionated regimen. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics 2007;67:750-758.

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