Image: An example of radiation a therapy treatment for head and neck cancer patients (Photo courtesy of the Head and Neck Cancer Guide).
Researchers have revealed a new innovative radiation therapy approach, called the radiosensitivity index, which can improve the outcomes of radiation therapy for patients with head and neck cancer.
The clinical scientists developed the new test to determine the sensitivity of tumors in a specific patient to radiation therapy. The scientists validated the radiosensitivity index, which is based on gene expression in the tumor, in nine different patient groups, and with different types of tumors.
The researchers from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute (Tampa, FL, USA) published the results of their study in the May 2017 issue of the journal The Lancet Oncology. The researchers used the radiosensitivity index within a mathematical framework that enabled them to select the most appropriate radiotherapy dose, based on the individual tumor biology of each patient. As a next step the researchers are developing the first clinical trial for patients with squamous cell carcinoma, of the oropharynx.
According to the authors advances in the field of radiomics, which uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to scan and characterize tumors could also be used in the future to provide information for non-invasive and reproducible virtual 3-D biopsies of entire tumors.
Associate member and section head at Moffitt Head and Neck Radiation Oncology, Jimmy J. Caudell, MD, PhD, said, "We propose to explore how we can move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to radiotherapy treatment for patients with head and neck cancer, and to develop evidence with which to guide personalization and biological adaptation of radiotherapy to improve outcomes and reduce toxicity."
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute