From the blog

CIRT Radiation Therapy Beneficial for Lung Cancer Patients

Published: December 8, 2023

Surgery is usually the first choice for patients and doctors for the treatment of early-stage cancer. There are other options though like radiotherapy. A special type of radiotherapy called Carbon-ion radiotherapy (CIRT)has become popular with doctors.  A study in Japan showing how the therapy can benefit patients with early-stage lung cancer recently released results.

Carbon-ion radiotherapy utilizes special particles called carbon ions to treat cancer instead of x-rays. There are multiple advantages to the treatment, which could lead people to choosing it over surgery. One benefit of the treatment is that it can control cancer locally while also not causing severe side effects. More facilities around the world are using the therapy, but the country with the most facilities offering the treatment is Japan.

In 2016, researchers in Japan launched a study to learn more about the treatment and its effects on lung cancer. All hospitals in Japan that offered the treatment for lung cancer were involved in the study. This information is incredibly valuable because it tells us how well CIRT works for people with early-stage lung cancer, and it also gives hope to those suffering from mesothelioma.

The study looked at patients that received CIRT in Japan from the years 2016 through 2018. Most patients in the study had stage IA lung cancer (86 percent), but there were other patients in the study with IB lung cancer (14 percent). Some of the patients were diagnosed with lung cancer through only their symptoms and never received a biopsy. Almost all tumors (97 percent) were found on the outer part of the lungs.

Patients who received CIRT had good overall results within a 5-year period. The overall survival rate was 81.8 percent, the cause specific survival rate was 91.2 percent, the progression free survival rate was 65.9 percent, and the local control rate was 95.8 percent. This shows that patients lived longer and better lives due to the treatment.

A person’s age was an important factor in overall survival. This was true for progression-free survival, age, and consolidation/tumor ratio. All this information can help doctors choose the best treatment option for their patients. The study also showed that CIRT is a safe treatment option for patients. There were no severe side effects (grade 4 or higher) and only one patient had a grade 3 radiation caused lung problem.

Researchers believe that CIRT is a great way to treat early-stage lung cancer. This is due to the good outcomes in patients and the low incidences of side effects. The treatment is a good choice for patients who either cannot receive surgery or prefer to use radiotherapy.

Nobutero Kubo et al., “Five-Year Survival Outcomes After Carbon-Ion Radiotherapy for Operable Stage I NSCLC: A Japanese National Registry Study (J-CROS-LUNG)” Journal of Thoracic Oncology (November 1, 2023). [Link]
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