Earlier this summer, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) issued a new clinical guideline for treating early stage lung cancer with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).
Stephen Nigh, M.D., Medical Director, Radiation Oncology, notes, “In working with other national cooperative groups, ASTRO published ‘best practice’ guidelines based on all available literature on how to manage these complex patients. We now have data that describes how best to treat patients who otherwise may not be a candidate for surgery.”
Dr. Nigh says treating early stage lung cancer with SBRT opens new doors to treatment for patients who are not candidates for surgery due to other comorbidities such as COPD or heart disease. He adds that in the past these patients would have been treated with palliative external beam radiation with less than optimal success.
The new guideline also approves treating centrally located lung tumors with SBRT. “With careful fractionation in treatments, these central tumors can now safely be treated,” says Dr. Nigh.
SBRT continues to be the standard of care for treating peripheral lung tumors in patients who cannot undergo surgery. “SBRT is used for lymph-node negative, stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer patients,” says Dr. Nigh. “Appropriate patients are seen in consultation for consideration of CyberKnife® radiosurgery, SBRT, surgery or combined chemo-radiation.”
Dr. Nigh says at NCH, pulmonologists, radiologists, pathologists, radiation and medical oncologists, in addition to a thoracic surgeon, participate in a multidisciplinary thoracic conference to discuss lung cancer patients’ cases and determine if they are appropriate candidates for SBRT.
“We work closely with our Thoracic Oncology team, our patient navigators and primary physicians to treat patients and strive for the best possible outcomes,” he adds.
To refer a patient who has been diagnosed with lung cancer to the Cancer Care Program at NCH, contact Juli Aistars, R.N., A.P.N., TTS, Lung Cancer Patient Navigator, at 847-618-6572.