WVU Cancer Center Study Focuses on Promising New Lung Cancer Treatment

Updated on January 21, 2014

Chi-Alexander-2X3.jpgA clinical research study at the West Virginia University Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center offers hope to patients with advanced early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.

Alexander Chi, M.D., assistant professor in the WVU Department of Radiology Oncology, is leading the study, which involves stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) – a new and increasingly utilized radiation therapy used to treat early-stage non-small cell lung cancer and isolated recurrent non-small cell lung cancer.

Dr. Chi, an associate member of the Cancer Center’s Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Lung Cancer Program, said SABR has already been proven successful in treating early stage non-small cell lung cancer.  His current study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of escalated doses of SABR for lung cancer patients with more advanced early-stage lung cancer.

“These patients, who have received an ablative dose of radiation over a course of a few days, have had excellent clinical outcomes,” he said. “However, it is not yet known what the most appropriate dose of SABR is to effectively treat those with more advanced early-stage lung cancer.”

Chi is optimistic that patients who participate in the study will benefit.

“It is very possible that the escalated doses of SABR will be able to cure the disease in 80 percent of the patients,” he said. “In the remaining 20 percent, whose cancer is likely to recur beyond the chest wall, SABR will still help delay the cancer’s spread.”

A second purpose of the study is to establish a set of potential predictive biomarkers in blood and tumor tissue to identify patients who would benefit from high-dose SABR alone and those at high risk for lung cancer recurrence who will need additional chemotherapy.

“The results of this research study will contribute to strategies aimed at individualizing treatments for patients with non-small cell lung cancer,” Chi said.

“The Department of Radiation Oncology has acquired and implemented new technology that improves our ability to deliver precise treatments,” Geraldine Jacobson, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, said. “These include on-board imaging for accurate daily treatments, RapidArc for fast and precise delivery, and stereotactic body radiation (SBRT), which allows us to treat small lung cancers and other small tumors in less than a week. We have also implemented breath-hold treatments for left-sided breast cancer, which can reduce the radiation dose to the heart. Our philosophy is to continue to advance our capability to provide precise, rapid, and safe radiation therapy to our patients.”

For more information on the WVU Department of Radiation Oncology, see http://wvucancer.org/patients/Teams/radiation-oncology.

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