October 30, 2007

Lung Cancer Radiation Scarring is Studied

A U.S. radiological study suggests preventing lung scarring during radiation therapy for lung cancer might extend patients' lives.

Researchers at New York University Medical Center have found that using a special type of drug called a pharmaceutical monoclonal antibody to prevent a serious side effect of radiation therapy for lung cancer patients -- pulmonary fibrosis, or scarring of the lungs -- extends patients' lives and improves their quality of life.

The toxicity of pulmonary fibrosis limits the amount of the radiation dose that can be safely given to patients, said Dr. Simon Cheng, author of the study. These study results may lead to more effective radiation therapies for advanced lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the (United States).

More than 50 percent of patients receiving radiation therapy for advanced lung cancer develop radiation-induced lung fibrosis, the scientists said.

The research findings were presented this week in Los Angeles during the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.