Optimizing NSCLC Outcomes Via Technological Advances in Radiation Oncology

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Terence T. Sio, MD, MS, highlights advances such as proton beam radiotherapy that may improve outcomes for those with non–small cell lung cancer.

In a conversation with CancerNetwork®, Terence T. Sio, MD, MS, discussed how technological advancements in radiation oncology have impacted the modern treatment landscape for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Sio, a professor of radiation oncology at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, first outlined the use of immunotherapy and other systemic treatment options for this patient population. He detailed how the use of these modalities and other factors such as the risk of radiation-induced pneumonitis often inform the extent of subsequent radiotherapy. Treatment decision making may also involve collaboration with surgeons and medical oncologists as part of a multidisciplinary tumor board, which meets regularly at his institution to determine suitable strategies for those who require more than 1 course of therapy.

Additionally, Sio spoke about currently prevalent radiotherapy treatment strategies for patients with NSCLC as well as possible toxicities that may be associated with these modalities. In terms of novel technology in the field, he highlighted the development of proton beam radiotherapy and the potential advantages it may offer over other therapies.

According to Sio, use of proton beam radiotherapy may reduce excess radiation that usually extends beyond the targeted tumor, effectively lowering the risk of adverse effects (AEs) during treatment. Specifically, proton beam radiotherapy may benefit patient subgroups including those who have previously experienced a heart attack or those who are older and frailer. With an adequate treatment plan that encompasses the use of proton beam radiation, Sio stated that it may be possible to treat these subgroups with fewer AEs than those observed in patients who undergo standard radiotherapy.

“We can actually be helping some of the patients who otherwise may not be able to stand as intensive of a method of combining radiation and chemotherapy for their lung cancer treatments,” Sio said regarding the use of proton beam radiotherapy in this population. “Right now, we have shown that proton [beam radiotherapy] has a role in lung cancer treatments.”

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