Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is a sophisticated technique that allows the safe delivery of very high doses of radiation to relatively small targets in only one to five treatment sessions. At Sibley, SBRT is planned and delivered using TomoTherapy, which incorporates three-dimensional imaging at the time of treatment to ensure precise targeting of the radiation while avoiding nearby sensitive structures or organs (i.e., spinal cord, heart). Worldwide, there is over a decade of experience using SBRT to treat tumors in various locations, including the lung, liver, spine and select areas within the abdomen and pelvis. SBRT is exclusively an outpatient treatment—there’s no hospital stay or invasive surgery.
Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) for Lung Tumors
Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is a safe and precise method for delivering very high doses of radiation to relatively small targets in only one to five treatment sessions. SBRT is soley an outpatient treatment—there’s no hospital stay or invasive surgery. Treating lung tumors with SBRT is the area where the greatest experience worldwide exists, whether a new diagnosis or recurrent/metastatic disease.
SBRT is an extremely attractive alternative for the treatment of early-stage lung cancer. (Early-stage lung cancer refers to tumors that have not spread to the lymph nodes in the chest or to organs outside of the chest.) The effectiveness and safety of SBRT for treating early-stage lung cancer has been documented in numerous publications and in national trials, with most reporting the tumor disappeared and did not come back in more than 90% of patients. The majority of the early data has been in patients who are not considered candidates for surgery due to other medical conditions (i.e., advanced heart or lung disease). However, because SBRT targeting the lung is so well tolerated and successful, there are ongoing trials in the US and in Japan asking whether SBRT could replace surgery in the treatment of operable patients with early-stage lung cancer. With SBRT, not only are the risks of surgery circumvented, but there is no post-surgical recovery time or missed work days.
SBRT is also an effective treatment for recurrent or metastatic lung tumors. Tumors that recur after surgery or after prior course(s) of radiotherapy can often be safely eradicated using SBRT. In addition, patients with limited metastatic tumors in the lung from other primary sites of disease (i.e., breast, colon) may be appropriate candidates for SBRT.