Image: New research shows radiotherapy con prolong the life of lung cancer patients (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).
Metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (mNSCLC) patients treated with a combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy (RT) regimen can live up to one year longer, according to a new study.
Researchers at Siena University Hospital (Italy), Bianchi-Melacrino-Morelli Hospital (Reggio, Italy) and other institutions conducted a retrospective analysis of 69 patients with unresectable, inoperable mNSCLC who received the mPEBev chemotherapy regimen, composed of fractionated cisplatin, oral etoposide, and bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits blood vessel growth in the tumor. Of these patients, 45 were also given palliative RT treatments to one or more metastatic sites.
A statistical analysis of the study results revealed a much longer median survival period of about 10 months (with the longest survival of over two years) in the group of patients who received RT, with no difference in progression-free survival. In particular, the patients survival correlated with the mPEBev regimen ability to induce the percentage of activated dendritic cells (DCs) and central-memory- T-cells (CD3, CD8+, CD45RA-, and CCR7+). The study was published on August 24, 2017, in Oncotarget.
“We found that radiotherapy, together with its direct cytolytic effect on tumor tissue, also elicits systemic immunological events, similarly to cancer vaccines,” said study co-author Professor Luigi Pirtoli, MD, director of radiation oncology at the University of Siena. “This response may result in the regression of distant metastases, known as the abscopal effect, as suggested by immunological mechanisms further investigated by our team in previous research.”
NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, and include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Other subtypes, such as adenosquamous and sarcomatoid carcinoma, are less common. Patients in early stages of NSCLC can undergo lung lobectomy, but it is not performed on patients that have lung cancer that has already metastasized to other parts of the body.
Siena University Hospital