ASTRO publishes evidence-based guideline for thoracic radiotherapy

April 27, 2011

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has developed a guideline for the use of external beam radiation therapy, endobronchial brachytherapy and concurrent chemotherapy to palliate thoracic symptoms caused by advanced lung cancer. The guideline will be published in Practical Radiation Oncology, an official journal of ASTRO.

Many patients whose lung cancer has spread receive radiation therapy to treat symptoms related to cancer, such as cough, shortness of breath, bronchial obstruction and chest pain. However, the exact treatment approach can vary from doctor to doctor. This variation caused the Guidelines Subcommittee of ASTRO's Clinical Affairs and Quality Committee (CAQC) to identify the use of palliative thoracic (or chest) radiation therapy as a high-priority topic needing an evidence-based guideline.

This panel was co-chaired by George Rodrigues, MD, MSc, a radiation oncologist and clinician scientist at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario, Canada, and Benjamin Movsas, MD, chairman of at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

"Radiation therapy can be extremely helpful to alleviate symptoms caused by lung cancer, such as shortness of breath and chest pain," Dr. Rodrigues said.

ASTRO's Board of Directors then put together a multidisciplinary task force that was charged with reviewing and synthesizing the current evidence to develop a guideline to help radiation oncologists determine the appropriate use of external beam radiation therapy, endobronchial brachytherapy and concurrent chemotherapy for palliative intent for lung cancer patients.

The task force's main findings are:

1. Various regimens of thoracic therapy are very effective for palliation of symptoms, with moderately higher dose regimens associated with a modest improvement in survival for selected patients primarily with good performance status.

2. There is no evidence to recommend the use of endobronchial brachytherapy in the routine initial palliative management of lung cancer. Endobronchial brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy used to treat lung cancer in or near the patient's airway.

3. There is no added benefit to patients to use chemotherapy at the same time as radiation therapy in the relief of thoracic symptoms for lung cancer patients. However, optimally integrating sequential chemotherapy and is important in the management of symptoms.

Dr. Movsas said, "It is our hope that this evidence-based guideline will help doctors determine the optimal palliative radiation treatments for , thereby yielding improved quality of life."

More information: For a copy of the guideline, visit www.astro.org/research

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

July 25, 2017
A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent inhibits glioblastoma growth and radiation resistance

July 24, 2017
Glioblastoma is a primary brain tumor with dismal survival rates, even after treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A small subpopulation of tumor cells—glioma stem cells—is responsible for glioblastoma's ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.