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Wake Forest Baptist finds success with novel lung cancer treatment
Date:5/8/2014

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. May 8, 2014 An old idea of retreating lung tumors with radiation is new again, especially with the technological advances seen in radiation oncology over the last decade.

The Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is one of only a handful of cancer centers that is attempting to give lung cancer patients out of treatment options a chance to keep the cancer at bay. For these patients, hope lies in a second course of treatment repeat radiation. Two complementary papers published back-to-back recently in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology and the Journal of Thoracic Oncology outline the treatment success at Wake Forest Baptist.

"One of the toughest challenges of lung cancer is what to do for patients when the cancer comes back in an area that's been treated previously with radiation treatment," said James J. Urbanic, M.D., lead author of the studies and a radiation oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist. "With some of the technological advances in radiation treatments that have occurred in the last five to 10 years, we're beginning to re-look at the issue and ask can we target the radiation precisely enough and with a high enough dose to knock the cancer back?"

Urbanic said the overall findings of the study suggest that there are some patients with recurrent lung cancers who can be treated with another definitive course of radiation therapy and still have a chance at a cure. "At many cancer treatment centers, these patients only get chemotherapy and have no chance at definitive treatment. The goal of treatment is solely to prevent or delay symptoms from developing and they are seen as incurable," he said. "But with re-irradiation, our study shows that maybe we can give a curative intent treatment that we couldn't do in the past. It's a layer of hope for some patients that they never had before."

For this study, the researchers looked back at 11 years of clinical data. Eight
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Contact: Bonnie Davis
bdavis@wakehealth.edu
336-716-4977
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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