Novel Radiation Therapy Method Shortens Prostate Cancer Treatment Time
A new study published in the newest edition of the journal American College of Radiology reveals a novel radiation therapy that would help decrease the treatment period of prostate cancer patients by almost 14%. The new technique is called VMAT (Volume-Modulated Arc Therapy) and it uses intensity-modulated radiation. Researchers who performed the study are from the Winship Cancer Institute, from Emory University, in Atlanta.
Currently, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, is widely regarded as a standard procedure for patients with prostate cancer. There are many benefits from using this procedure, however, due to its complexity and the fact that it is a time-consuming treatment method, it forces patients to commit to a daily treatment plan. This particular therapy also requires a large number of monitors and several gantry positions. According to William Hall, the author of the study, his research team compared the efficiency of VMAT compared to IMRT.
In order to determine the exact time it takes patients to complete the daily therapy schedule, a custom software was used. This software monitored the in-room time, which is the time passed between the moment the patient entered the therapy room and the moment the patient exited the room. The average in-room time from patients using VMAT was compared to that of patients using IMRT. Subgroup comparisons were also performed. These subgroup comparisons included 1- and 2-arc VMAT and 5- and 7-field IMRT, among others.
The final results of the comparisons show that the in-room time for patients undergoing VMAT was significantly shorter. According to the researchers, the in-room time for IMRT patients was 14.69 ± 4.36 minutes, compared to the in-room time of VMAT patients, which was 12.6 ± 2.62 minutes.
“With an aging population and rapidly rising rates of prostate cancer, the ability to determine the most efficient method by which patients with adenocarcinoma of the prostate should be treated is critical”, said Dr Hall. He notes that according to their recent paper, both 5-field IMRT and VMAT have a high efficiency rating. Dr Hall concluded that their study provides important information for researchers and doctors who are trying to maximize the quality and efficiency of the radiation therapy they use to treat their patients.