Philadelphia CyberKnife Offers Noninvasive Treatment to Patients with Lung Tumor Regrowth or Metastases

Noninvasive treatment of tumors that regrow in lung cancer patients is now more possible than ever using CyberKnife® technology. Havertown-based Philadelphia CyberKnife together with Drexel University College of Medicine recently completed a study demonstrating the efficacy of this approach for patients experiencing a recurrence or spread of a lung tumor.

In the last decade, treatment for these diagnoses has progressed using chemotherapy, surgery and external beam radiation therapy, but patients often experience decreased lung functionality following these treatments. The Philadelphia CyberKnife team presented their study at the 2013 National Radiosurgery Society meeting as one of the first of its kind to evaluate this method of treatment for recurrence.

The method uses stereotactic body radiation therapy for recurrent lung cancer patients who have been previously treated with conventional radiation therapy, a process called reirradiation. Results from the study demonstrated patients who received SBRT reirradiation experienced good tumor control at that site and fewer long-term side effects over a three-year period compared with other series of reirradiation.

“There is a significant risk of local recurrence for lung cancer patients, and our study demonstrated that CyberKnife allows us to go back and retreat isolated tumor sites safely with precise doses of radiation,” said Dr. Rachelle Lanciano, chief of radiation oncology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Patients facing this type of diagnosis usually have few treatment options and this is a method that can lessen the impact on quality of life in a way that we couldn’t in the past.”

Lung tumors are among the most frequently treated diseases at Philadelphia CyberKnife and carry a risk of spreading to other parts of the body along with a risk of recurrence at the primary tumor site. Tumors that spread from their original site are called metastases and can appear throughout the body. During treatment of both metastases and recurrent tumors, the CyberKnife delivers highly focused radiation beams with sub-millimeter accuracy. Treatment is completed within five sessions depending on the individual diagnosis. The outpatient procedure does not require incisions or sedation.

Since opening as a service of Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Philadelphia CyberKnife has published numerous papers to support the expansion of clinical applications of CyberKnife SBRT. In addition to groundbreaking lung cancer research, the team has also contributed greatly to the understanding of CyberKnife treatment for tumors in the liver and prostate with publications in each site. As a result, the center has some of the most comprehensive and long-term data demonstrating the efficacy of CyberKnife treatment for various malignant tumors throughout the body.