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New data from Elekta’s lung research group

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Elekta has announced new data demonstrating stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a safe treatment option for early-stage lung cancer patients aged 80 or older.

The results, which were based on data from more than 1,000 patients across five institutions that comprise the Elekta Lung Research Group, are available online and will be published in the July 15 print issue of International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics.

The study evaluated safety and efficacy outcomes of 1,083 patient reports collected in a multi-institutional database. Patients were treated with SBRT for early-stage lung cancer between 2004 and 2014 and followed for a median of 1.7 years. The cohort included 305 patients under 70 years of age, 448 patients ages 70 to 79 years, and 330 patients aged 80 years or more (which included 16 patients aged 90 years or more). The median age was 75 years (range 41to 94).

Study results show no significant differences among the three age groups with respect to 2-year local recurrence, regional recurrence, distant metastases or the incidence of grade 3 or higher toxicity. Cause-specific survival was similar among all three age groups (90.3 to 90.6 percent). Two-year overall survival was lower in older patients, which is likely related to other medical issues.

“Older patients are often not considered for radiation therapy due to concerns about their ability to tolerate treatment. The results of our study clearly support the use of SBRT for elderly patients, especially those who may not be able to tolerate longer courses of radiotherapy or more invasive treatment options,” says Meredith Giuliani, MBBS, FRCPC, MEd, a radiation oncologist in the Cancer Clinical Research Unit at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network in Toronto and lead study author. “Radiation oncologists need to work closely with our peers in other parts of the medical community to ensure that patients with diagnosed or suspected early-lung cancer are evaluated for potential treatment with SBRT regardless of age.”

“This study is the largest series of its type to evaluate SBRT outcomes in patients aged 80 years and older,” says Joel Goldwein, MD, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs for Elekta. “In addition to providing important support for using SBRT to treat early-stage lung cancer in elderly patients, these findings highlight the value of multi-institutional collaborations and large data sets that can provide statistically meaningful answers to critical questions about treatment outcome and guide clinical decision making.”

The Elekta Lung Research Group

The Elekta Lung Research Group (ELRG) is an international collaboration of physicians and physicists that is evaluating clinical outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. To date, they have accumulated data on close to 1,200 such patients and identified medical and technical factors that affect tumor control and toxicity. Their collective experience is among the largest multinational series of patients treated with image-guided SBRT to date.

This research was partially supported by Elekta through a research grant with all institutions being members of the Elekta Lung Research Group. This work and these data, however, are the intellectual property of the individual group members and their sponsoring institutions. The authors declare no other conflicts of interest.

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