Health Discoveries in Lung Cancer

New radiation as good as surgery for elderly lung cancer patients

December 9, 2010
Elderly patients with early-stage lung cancer may benefit as much from a new radiation therapy as they do from surgery, according to research presented at the recent Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

The targeted therapy called stereotactic radiation, or radiosurgery, showed the same long-term survival for patients who underwent surgery. However, those who had surgery also had a higher risk of death in the first month after their operation, based a review of cases of elderly patients in North Holland from 2005 to 2007.

"Because most radiotherapy patients had medical problems that prevented them from having surgery, we would expect them not to live as long as the surgery patients. Yet, despite this disadvantage, the radiotherapy patients lived just as long," said Dr. David Palma, a Canadian radiation oncologist who led the study while on a fellowship at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

A clinical trial in the North Shore-LIJ Health System is trying to determine if adding the drug bevacizumab to chemotherapy decreases the chance of a cancer recurrence for patients who have had surgery to remove lung cancer.
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