An advanced form of image-guided radiation therapy known as intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) has shown early promise for the treatment of recurrent lung cancer, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Researchers found that after re-irradiation with IMPT, the cancer had not returned one year after most patients were treated, and few experienced severe side effects.
The data is the first to analyze re-irradiation of thoracic cancers with IMPT and offers hope for a patient population with few curative treatment options.
Many recurrent lung cancer patients are not candidates for surgery, so there’s been growing interest in the repeat use of radiation, explained Jennifer Ho, M.D., a Radiation Oncology resident.
“Historically, repeat radiation at a higher, curative dose was not possible with older, less precise radiation techniques because the cumulative radiation dose necessary to treat the cancer would cause too much toxicity,” said Ho, the study’s lead author. “In lung cancer, tumors are close to the esophagus, aorta and spinal cord, which may become damaged by traditional radiation. IMPT allows us to deliver, with pinpoint accuracy, higher doses of radiation to tumors without damaging critical structures nearby.