A Review of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Raymond H. Mak, MD


The standard of care for the treatment of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer is surgical resection.  However, many patients with this disease have other medical co-morbidities, which may preclude them from undergoing a surgical procedure.  In these patients, conventional fractionated radiation therapy over 6-8 weeks has historically resulted in poor outcomes.  The development of stereotactic body radiation therapy, a new form of very precise radiation therapy that delivers high doses of radiation in as few as 1 to 5 treatments to the tumor, provides these patients with a promising new alternative.  Several phase II studies have demonstrated high local control rates of greater than 80-90% with this approach, and a low risk of severe toxicity (<10%) when patients are appropriately selected.  Further study is required to examine the optimal candidates for this treatment and to further refine the technique, but stereotactic body radiation therapy is emerging as a promising, non-invasive treatment for stage I non-small cell lung cancer.


non-small cell lung cancer, stereotactic body radiation therapy, medically inoperable

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