News from Hepatitis Week of March 30, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 13

Study: Liver Cancer Patients May Benefit from New Radiation Therapy

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers are evaluating the use of highly focused and precisely targeted radiation as a potential new treatment for liver cancer, a disease on the upsurge in the United States as a result of hepatitis C.

The therapy known as extracranial stereotactic radioablation (SRA) is non-invasive and might benefit patients who cannot be helped by surgery or a liver transplant, according to researchers.

A 3-D computer generated grid system is used to precisely map the tumor location where the therapy will be directed. The patient is immobilized in a specially fitted, lightweight body frame that allows the radiation to be delivered to the target with high precision. The patient then receives multiple shots of photon beams produced by a linear accelerator.

Dr. Higinia Cardenes, an associate professor in the Indiana University Department of Radiation Oncology, said SRA is very attractive when compared with currently available therapies such as radio frequency ablation or delivery of drugs through the hepatic artery directly to the tumor.

"In Phase I of the study we are evaluating the toxicity of the therapy on patients," said Cardenes. "Our end goal is to determine if higher doses allowed with SRA kill the tumor without damaging healthy tissue or causing other side effects."

Other sources: Indiana University School of Medicine