Tuesday, November 15, 2016 12:00 AM

CyberKnife upgraded to improve lung cancer treatment

The CyberKnife® system at Community Regional’s Charles & Ann Matoian Oncology Unit, was upgraded in October to enhance treatment for early-stage lung cancer patients. The addition of a “Lung Optimizing Treatment” means most lung cases can be treated without needing invasive surgical implantation of gold markers called fiducials at the tumor site. Before the upgrades, fiducials were required to guide CyberKnife laser treatments to accurately target the tumor while the lungs were moving during breathing.

Cyberknife targets a lung tumor with pinpoint accuracy from all angles.

“In many cases, this will reduce the number of procedures a patient requires prior to treatment,” said William Silveira, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at Community. “These advancements allow for improved tracking of lung tumor motion during radiosurgery. This will positively impact our patients with early stage lung cancer who are treated with stereotactic radiosurgery by CyberKnife, a non-invasive outpatient procedure. In addition, with new powerful planning hardware and software, we expect more efficient radiosurgery planning and treatment times. This will lead to a better experience for all of our patients.”

Kenneth Forster PhD, chief of medical physics who oversaw the modifications, described the upgrades, “We use two x-ray cameras that are fixed in the room to help determine where the tumor is in three dimensions. Previously we had to always implant small gold markers into the tumor to assess the tumor position (track the tumor) with the X-ray cameras.  With our new software we can track many of these tumors without having a procedure to implant these small gold markers and still track the tumor. So the radiation beam is always focused on the tumor.”

Additional upgrades to CyberKnife added new user interfaces that increase the speed of treatments. Patients now will spend 33% less time on the table. And updated hardware allows for faster and even more accurate dose calculation.

“Clinical trials on radiosurgery on lung tumors shows is just as effective as doing a lobectomy,” a surgical removal of part of the lung, said Dr. Forster. “The difference is in two weeks we’re done with treatment and there’s no recovery time. We have similar treatment times for prostate cancer with similar results for early stage cancers as with surgery.”
Erin Kennedy reported this story. Reach her at MedWatchToday@communitymedical.org