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Most Effective Treatment for Lung Cancer Is Concurrent Chemoradiation

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 06:11 PM EDT

For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), it seems that concurrent chemoradiation may be the most effective treatment option. At least, that is what a new study based out of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor suggests.

In the study, 237 patients with inoperable stage III NSCLC were randomized into three different treatment groups – radiation alone, sequential chemotherapy and radiation and concurrent chemoradiation.

Of all three trial segments, the concurrent chemoradiation group faired the best with a median survival duration of 15.8 months. Patients that received only radiation survived a median average of 7.4 months. Those given sequential chemoradiation survived 14.9 months, on average.

While the results are certainly beneficial when it comes to treatment planning for lung cancer, the team behind the study reiterates that long-term survival rates remain poor. Only 19.5 percent of concurrent chemoradiation patients survived for 5 years. For radiation alone and sequential chemoradiation, the numbers are 3.3 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

The University of Michigan team now hopes to use the data gleaned from this study to help create more personalized high-dose radiation therapies. To accomplish this, they are looking into the benefits of PET imaging throughout the course of treatment.

Personalized cancer treatment is a promising treatment method that is gaining popularity for a number of types of cancer.

The team’s current study was published in the April issue of the International Journal of Radiation * Biology * Physics.