Washington, Nov 4 (ANI): Scientists from University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) have pioneered a radiation therapy procedure that could help reduce pain in patients with cancer that has spread to the spine.
Lead researcher Dr Dwight E. Heron, associate professor and vice-chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that cancers can frequently spread to the bone and spine is the site most commonly involved, which can be extremely painful.
The research showed that stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), when delivered in large doses of radiation to tumours, can effectively controls pain in cancer patients.
"Conventional radiation therapy is not always effective in alleviating bone pain resulting from spread of cancer to the spine," said Heron.
In patients who have previously received radiation, few options for effective treatment exist," added Heron.
The researchers reviewed the outcomes of 228 patients treated with SRS at UPCI and Georgetown University Medical Centre (GUMC).
Patients at UPCI received a single treatment of SRS while patients at GUMC generally received three treatment sessions.
"Both arms of the study successfully proved that SRS is a safe and effective form of treatment for patients with cancer that has spread to their bones, even in patients who had previously received radiation to the spine," said Heron.
"Interestingly, patients who received only one treatment experienced faster onset of pain relief but those who received three treatments experienced relief for longer periods of time. Additionally, patients who received three treatments had less need for re-treatment and greater survival rates," Heron added.
The study was presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in Chicago. (ANI)