Feature | April 10, 2014

Physicians at UT Southwestern Use Cyberknife to Treat Vocal Cord Cancer

Robotic device restores voice of patient in a first for the robotic radiosurger system

Susie Chen, M.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology (left), oversaw CyberKnife treatments for patient Stephen Wiley.

April 10, 2014 — Stephen Wiley of Terrell, Texas, is the first known patient to be treated for vocal cord cancer with the CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery system from Accuray, announced officials from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The 59-year-old Wiley’s vocal cords were deteriorating until one day his voice reduced to a whisper. Doctors found tumors in both his vocal cords, and referred him to UT Southwestern, where he met with Larry Myers, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.

Six doctors had to unanimously agree that Wiley was a good candidate for the procedure, which he said gave him confidence that the CyberKnife trial was right for him. The $7 million CyberKnife has a small linear particle accelerator and a robotic arm that allows it to treat tumors on any part of the body with radiation. There were no previous records from Accuray or in medical literature of the robotic device previously being used to treat vocal cord cancer.

Wiley’s successful treatments yielded important information that UT Southwestern physicians are already using to make treatment shorter for other people with vocal cord tumors, said Wiley’s surgeon Baran Sumer, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in north Texas.

“We’re in a very unique situation at UT Southwestern where we have the tools to do it. It takes a lot of collaboration between the surgeons and the radiation doctors to actually get that done. The technology just hasn’t been there until recently,” said Susie Chen, M.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology, who oversaw Wiley’s treatments.

Patients must be as still as possible for the CyberKnife treatment to be precise, but vocal cords move when people breathe and swallow, presenting a unique challenge in using the precision robot. Sumer injected tiny bits of gold into the patient’s neck for the CyberKnife to track so the robotic arm could adjust to even the slightest movements. The patient’s head also was covered with a mesh mask that held him still.

“With the CyberKnife, it’s real time. When something moves, it’s actually moving. We adjust to the movement,” Chen said. “The whole time you’re getting treated, there are little X-rays that are being done that allow the machine to lock on to these little gold markers that are placed near the vocal cords. You lock on to a target.”

Three other UT Southwestern patients have since had CyberKnife treatments on vocal cord tumors, and Chen said they have been able to reduce the number of treatments each time as more is learned about the CyberKnife’s effectiveness on vocal cord tumors.

“What we’ve done is taken a treatment that takes five and a half weeks, and we’re decreasing it,” Chen said. “The true goal of this study is to maintain excellent cure rates while decreasing the time of radiation and side effects. That’s the biggest thing – ease for the patient.”

For more information: www.utsouthwestern.edu, www.cyberknife.com

Related Content

ProCure Proton Therapy Center New Jersey Celebrates Five-Year Cancer-Free Milestone for Prostate Cancer Patients
News | Proton Therapy | September 20, 2017
ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J., recently celebrated the five-year cancer-free milestone for the first...
Varian to Showcase Latest Radiation Therapy Technologies and Software at ASTRO 2017
News | Radiation Therapy | September 19, 2017
Varian Medical Systems announced it will be demonstrating its new Halcyon platform and HyperArc high-definition...
Elekta to Highlight MOSAIQ Oncology Analytics at ASTRO Annual Meeting
News | Radiation Therapy | September 19, 2017
September 19, 2017 — Elekta will highlight its Mosaiq Oncology...
Double Targeting Ligands to Identify and Treat Prostate Cancer

The mice were imaged with small-animal PET/CT using 124I-RPS-027 (7.4 MBq [200 μCi]). Credit: JM Kelly et al., Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

News | Prostate Cancer | September 14, 2017
Researchers have demonstrated a new, effective way to precisely identify and localize prostate cancer tumors while...
Clinical Trials and Cutting-Edge Radiation Oncology Research to Be Featured at ASTRO 2017
News | Radiation Therapy | September 14, 2017
The program for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), Sept. 24-27 in San...
Provision Healthcare Joins RayCare Clinical Partners
News | Oncology Information Management Systems (OIMS) | September 11, 2017
Provision, located in Knoxville, Tenn., is the latest to partner with RaySearch Laboratories on the development of its...
U.K.'s NICE Supports Use of Hydrogel Spacer in Prostate Cancer Treatement
News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | September 08, 2017
Augmenix Inc. announced that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the U.K. has issued...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Radiation Therapy | September 08, 2017
The new Visicoil MR is a helically-wound, flexible linear fiducial marker.
FDG-PET/CT Predicts Melanoma Patients' Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy
News | PET-CT | September 07, 2017
September 7, 2017 — Advanced melanoma has a poor prognosis, but immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy can be effective
Augmenix Announces Medicare Administrative Contractor Palmetto Coverage for SpaceOAR Hydrogel
News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | September 05, 2017
Augmenix Inc. announced that Palmetto GBA LLC — the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) covering North Carolina,...
Overlay Init