October 14, 2008 - Clinicians at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, who are using RapidArc technology from Varian Medical Systems to treat early stage lung cancer patients now plan to replace conventional stereotactic radiotherapy treatments with RapidArc for all such patients.
A 57-year-old male, diagnosed with a 1.2cm diameter non-small cell lung tumor in the right upper lobe and deemed unfit for surgery as a result of severe emphysema, was the first patient to receive the pioneering radiotherapy treatment at the hospital in early September.
"We normally use ultra-precise stereotactic radiotherapy in these cases and we have now treated more than 400 such patients in this way," said Ben Slotman, M.D., chairman of the hospital's department of radiation oncology. "But RapidArc offers some real time-savings over stereotactic radiotherapy and its use in this case is a real breakthrough for us and our patients."
The treatment was delivered in less than 15 minutes versus the 30 to 45 minutes normally needed by the team at VU University Medical Center to treat lungs with image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The treatment was delivered using six arcs -- or rotations -- of the treatment machine around the patient. RapidArc delivers a volumetric radiotherapy treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient.
"We were very pleased with how the treatment went," added Suresh Sunan, M.D., professor of clinical experimental radiotherapy. "The online patient setup using cone beam CT scans allowed direct visualization of the tumor just prior to fast treatment delivery using RapidArc, all of which greatly increased the confidence of the treatment team in the precision of delivery. The high dose radiation area was restricted to the tumor and the surrounding healthy tissue and critical organs received very low doses."
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