Targeted radiation therapy safe, effective for elderly patients

A highly targeted cancer radiation therapy may offer a safe and effective treatment option for elderly pancreatic cancer patients unable to undergo surgery or combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

 

Called stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), the study finds patients lived, on average, six to seven months longer following treatment with minimal side-effects even when they had other severe comorbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes.

 

Two of the patients in the study lived nearly two years.

 

'Elderly individuals, those ages 75 and older, account for approximately 40 percent of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,' says study lead author Raphael Yechieli, M.D., with the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital.

 

'These patients are too ill to receive any other treatment, but with stereotactic body radiotherapy we