Lung Cancer Radiation Therapy: Less is More

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Radiotherapy at a higher-than-standard dose is harmful to patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are also getting concurrent and consolidation chemotherapy, a study has found. Patients with stage III NSCLC who were given the standard 60 gray (Gy) dose of radiotherapy lived approximately nine months longer and experienced fewer treatment-related deaths than those treated with a high dose of 74 Gy. Those who received the high dose faced a 56% greater risk of death and a 37% greater risk of local progression of their disease compared with patients who received the standard dose, according to lead author Jeffrey D. Bradley, MD. This is a critical study in the field of radiation oncology,” said ASCO President Sandra M. Swain, MD. After a decade of research, we can finally close the chapter on the high-dose vs standard-dose therapy debate in lung cancer, You now have evidence that standard doses of radiation therapy for stage III non-small cell lung cancer are the gold standard for treatment. For more information on lung cancer, look for my new e-book for IPad (Understanding Lung Cancer in 60 Minutes) coming out this month. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.