Stereotactic ablative radiation therapy in lung cancer: an emerging standard

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Significant advances have been made in the field of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) for the treatment of pulmonary neoplasms in recent years. This review aims to summarize recent salient evidence on SABR for early-stage nonsmall cell lung cancer (ES-NSCLC).

Recent findings

In medically inoperable patients, SABR remains the standard of care. The optimal SABR dosing regimen is being studied. Comparisons with non-SABR radiotherapy regimens with lower doses per fraction revealed benefit of SABR. In operable patients, no prospective clinical trial comparing SABR and surgery has been completed, although multiple trials are currently underway to address this question. SABR is generally cost-effective and safe in most patients, with preserved patient-reported quality of life. However, increased toxicity with SABR is noted in patients with disease close to, or invading the proximal tracheobronchial tree. Significant SABR-related toxicity and mortality is also reported in patients with coexisting interstitial lung disease. Considerations on pathologic confirmation, surveillance and multiple primaries are also addressed.

Summary

SABR is an effective and safe treatment for inoperable ES-NSCLC. Ongoing trials and comparative effectiveness research will help to clarify SABR's role in various lung cancer indications going forward.

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