MAR 18, 2017 5:58 PM PDT

Lung Cancer Patients may Benefit From Advanced Proton Therapy

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

There could be some good news for patients dealing with recurrent lung cancer. One type of radiation treatment, called intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT), has shown promise in preliminary testing. Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center treated patients by reirradiating with IMPT. The majority of those patients had no cancer recurrence within one year of treatment. In addition, few people were subjected to side effects. The data from the research was reported at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.

Lung cancer is a devastating disease, and recurrence is the main reason that people die. The American Cancer Society estimates that 155,870 die from the disease annually, while 222,500 people are newly diagnosed. Currently, none of the typical treatment options are very good and it is often not a condition that surgery can alleviate.  Jennifer Ho, M.D., resident, Radiation Oncology explained that because the treatment options are poor, there is interest in using radiation as a therapeutic.

"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," explained lead author of the work, Ho. "In lung cancer, tumors are close to the esophagus, aorta and spinal cord, and all of these critical structures are vital for the body to function. The proton beam - and pencil beam in particular - provides much more conformal radiation, which means higher doses to tumors and lower dosages to critical structures nearby."

IMPT is one of the most advanced proton therapies, using scanning beam technology as a foundation to both optimize intensities and energies of all pencil beams to send a targeted dose of protons to tumors, explained Joe Y. Chang, M.D., Ph.D., a Professor of Radiation Oncology. "The technology has the ability to destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissue from damage. Therefore, important quality of life outcomes can be preserved and severe toxicities have shown to be reduced," said Chang, the corresponding author of the report.

While it was a relatively small study which employed a retrospective analysis, the investigators learned that of 27 patients given IMPT to treat lung cancer recurrence, after one year, 61 percent of the patients did not have a recurrence in the chest and lung. The researchers also found that those that received higher doses of radiation had fewer local recurrences and better progression-free survival. The radiation therapy was also tolerated well by the patients. 

"With the advancement of IMPT, we knew that we were able to generate more precise radiation treatment plans that spared normal tissue, but we weren't sure if this would translate into beneficial clinical outcomes until we analyzed this data," said Chang. "While the findings are early, we're hopeful that we can offer more positive outcomes and low toxicity with IMPT for recurrent thoracic cancer patients who previously had few treatment options."

 

You can learn more about IMPT in the video, from MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, American Cancer Society

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
AUG 11, 2020
Immunology
Study Reveals the Two Sides of an Immune Molecule
AUG 11, 2020
Study Reveals the Two Sides of an Immune Molecule
Scientists have discovered a key protein that regulates the immune system to fight off infections. Fascinatingly, the pr ...
SEP 08, 2020
Cancer
The story of a very scary protein
SEP 08, 2020
The story of a very scary protein
New research from biochemists at the University of Alberta has identified a protein that triggers the growth of aggressi ...
SEP 17, 2020
Cardiology
Can Grape Polyphenol Extracts prevent Cardiotoxicity?
SEP 17, 2020
Can Grape Polyphenol Extracts prevent Cardiotoxicity?
One of the biggest issues with chemotherapy treatments is their inherent toxicities. Most chemotherapy drugs are toxic t ...
SEP 30, 2020
Cancer
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
SEP 30, 2020
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
The transformation of a healthy cell into a cancerous one often comes with a slew of cellular signaling changes.  T ...
OCT 12, 2020
Cancer
Urine analysis is better at detecting bladder cancer than urine cytology
OCT 12, 2020
Urine analysis is better at detecting bladder cancer than urine cytology
In a study published recently in the American Association for Cancer Research journal Clinical Cancer Research, scientis ...
OCT 14, 2020
Immunology
Self-Healing Microcapsules Make Promising Leukemia Vaccines
OCT 14, 2020
Self-Healing Microcapsules Make Promising Leukemia Vaccines
Leukemia is a cancer affecting tissues in the body that produce blood cells, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic ...
Loading Comments...