Belly Radiation Muster

Stomach cancer radiation therapy quality control survey gathers data

(RxWiki News) Are they doing it right? What is everybody else doing? When it comes to radiation therapy for stomach cancer—a new survey tracks down the common denominators.

A recent study evaluated radiation therapy practices from treatment centers all over the U.S. Findings will provide a nice base for comparison for future studies.

Talk to your doctor about your best treatment options.

Karyn A. Goodman, MD, from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was the lead author of the investigation into quality of radiation therapy for stomach cancer.

For the study, researchers looked at the radiation therapy (RT) treatment courses for 250 stomach cancer patients from 45 different cancer treatment facilities in the U.S. from 2005-2007.

The research team evaluated the cases for “clinical performance measures” based on three criteria:

• The use of computed tomography (CT) scans for planning out treatment courses
• The use of dose volume histograms (DVHs) to monitor RT levels in the liver and kidneys
• The time frame and quality of RT

DVHs are a graph that tells doctors how much radiation is in the body by using information provided by a CT scan.

The quality controls for RT were:

• Use of intensity modulated RT (IMRT)
• Use of image-guided tools for RT (IGRT)—other than CT scans
• Use of pre-surgical RT.

IMRT is a computer guided RT that is super focused on the tumor rather than total body.

The patients in the study had all stages of stomach cancer and had received treatment at various academic and non-academic facilities.

Results of the study found:

• 96 percent of the patients had CT scans to frame their treatment plans
• 75 percent of patients had DVHs to check radiation doses in their liver and kidney tissues
• RT for 70 percent of patients was finished within the predicted time frame
• 22 percent of patients were treated with IMRT
• 17 percent of patients were treated with IGRT
• 19 percent of patients were given pre-surgical RT

IGRT included positron emission tomography (PET) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, 4-dimensional CT scans and on-board imaging (OBI).

This study was published in October in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics.

Funding for this study was provided by a grant from the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute.

No conflicts of interest were reported.

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Review Date: 
October 11, 2012