Targeted Radiation vs. Surgery for Early-Stage Lung Cancer
According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, both stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and surgery are associated with low rates of 30-day and 90-day post-treatment mortality. However, the difference in post-treatment mortality between these treatments widened with age, with SBRT potentially more beneficial among patients older than age 70.
“For patients with early-stage lung cancer who are otherwise healthy and good surgical candidates, lobar resection remains the standard,” stated senior study author Chad G. Rusthoven, MD, Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, in a press release. “However, the results of this study may be important to consider when discussing the treatment options for older patients who are thought to have a high risk of surgical complications.”
The investigators reported the post-treatment mortality was marginally lower with 30 days of treatment with radiation than with surgery, in the unmatched cohort (0.7% vs. 2.1%). However, in older age groups, the differences became larger. Among patients older than age 80, 3.9% who had surgery died within the 30-day post-treatment period, compared with 0.9% of those who were treated with SBRT.
The study assessed cases from the National Cancer Database, including 76,623 patients treated with surgery and 8,216 patients treated with SBRT.