New tumor tracking technique may improve outcomes for lung cancer patients

November 19, 2012, Thomas Jefferson University

Medical physicists at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center are one step closer to bringing a new tumor-tracking technique into the clinic that delivers higher levels of radiation to moving tumors, while sparing healthy tissue in lung cancer patients.

Evidence has shown a for treated with higher doses of radiation. Therefore, there is an increased interest to find novel ways to better track tumors—which are in constant motion because of breathing—in order to up the dosage during without increasing harmful side effects

After proving its success in simulations, researchers have now shown that their real-time tracking technique can achieve such tasks. Not only can it better predict and track tumor motion and deliver higher levels of radiation to patients and others with moving tumor targets, it can also successfully be implemented into existing clinical equipment (i.e., Elekta Precise Table).

The results of the study, led by Ivan Buzurovic, Ph.D., a medical physics resident and researcher in the Department of Radiation at Thomas Jefferson University, and Yan Yu, Ph.D., Professor, Vice Chair and Director of Medical Physics at Thomas Jefferson University, were published in the November issue of Medical Physics.

"We've shown here that our system can better predict and continuously track moving tumors during radiotherapy, preventing unnecessary amounts of radiation from being administered to unnecessary areas," said Dr. Buzurovic. "Just as important, we've successfully modified existing technology to integrate with the system to perform the tracking and delivery, meaning no additional is needed."

Respiratory and cardiac have been found to displace and deform tumors in the lung and other organs. Because of this, radiation oncologists must expand the margin during radiotherapy, and consequently a large volume of healthy tissue is irradiated, and critical organs adjacent to the tumor are sometimes difficult to spare.

In an effort to shrink that margin, Jefferson researchers developed a new, robotic technique that better tracks tumor motion to deliver more precise radiation.

Here, the researchers applied a new control system (software and hardware) and robotic technology to existing treatment couches used for radiation therapy to determine the tracking technology's feasibility in a clinical setting.

They found the technology can be integrated onto treatment couches and validated the tumor tracking system capabilities to follow desired trajectories. When the active tracking system was applied, irradiated planning target volume (the area set for treatment) was 20 to 30 percent less for medium size tumors and more than 50 percent for small size tumors.

"The use of tumor tracking technology during radiotherapy treatment for lung cancer would result in significant reduction in dose to critical organs and tissue, potentially decreasing the probability or severity of side effects, and thus improving cancer treatments," Dr. Yu said.

Based on these results, it can be hypothesized that clinical implementation of real-time tracking is feasible for achieving potentially improved patient outcome.

"With this new technique, it shrinks the margin, and would be able to administer more radiation and faster to the than conventional methods," said Adam P. Dicker, M.D, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of at Thomas Jefferson University. "And a higher, more targeted dose means a better cure in lung cancer."

Explore further: Jefferson doctors strengthen case for high-dose radiotherapy technique after radical prostatectomy

Related Stories

Jefferson doctors strengthen case for high-dose radiotherapy technique after radical prostatectomy

April 13, 2011
A widely-available yet expensive radiotherapy technique used to treat prostate cancer patients after surgery has promising benefits -- higher dose and less damage to the rectum and bladder -- compared to a less precise technique, ...

Cancer treatment system sculpts radiation beam to match shape of a tumor

March 26, 2012
Rush University Medical Center will begin offering in late March a new stereotactic radiosurgery treatment program with the latest radiation therapy technology available.

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

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.