Patients with inoperable kidney cancer have been given new
hope by an ultra-high dose radiation treatment, which pulverises tumours
without killing surrounding healthy tissue.
Five Royal Adelaide Hospital patients who have undergone the
treatment are all reported to be doing well.
The project will be expanded thanks to a $589,000 Cancer
RAH researchers are part of an international, multi-centre
project studying the effectiveness of the high dose radiotherapy treatment on
patients unable to undergo traditional surgery.
Latest figures show more than 3000 new cases of kidney
cancer are diagnosed in Australia each year while 920 people died in 2014.
Doctors say the standard treatment is surgery but as it
commonly occurs in older patients, many are unable to tolerate an operation due
to medical conditions such as heart disease.
Some are subsequently not treated despite having limited
levels of the disease.
Others with small cancers, located at the edge of the
kidney, are treated using heating or freezing electrodes poked through the skin
while under anaesthetic.
The new funding will allow researchers to increase the trial
use of the so-called stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR).
The treatment is already used successfully on some other
cancers including lung, liver and prostate, delivering high doses of radiation
with millimetre-perfect precision to avoid damaging healthy tissue.
Principal RAH investigator, radiation oncologist Dr Braden
Higgs, said the new treatment opened a new option for treating kidney patients
who would otherwise face limited alternatives.
“This allows us to deliver very high doses of radiation to
tumours with great precision,” he said. “It holds great promise as a treatment
for the future and this grant will allow us to continue the study and recruit
“It has been done it on five patients at the RAH so far and
all are doing well.”
RAH Director of Urological Cancer Associate, Professor
Nicholas Brook, said it is a new treatment for kidney cancer.
“Previously it was not possible to do this as the kidney
moves around during treatment,” he said.
“But there is a new technique that allows SABR to be given
to the kidney without damaging surrounding tissue.
“Before this, we had no treatment options for patients who
were too unfit for kidney surgery. Now, these patients have a treatment option
that is potentially curative.”
A trial at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre proved
the treatment is safe and tolerable for patients.
Radiation is delivered over one to five sessions rather than
five days a week for two months for conventional radiotherapy, using more
angles and beams than standard treatmentsl.
This article was originally published on The Daily Telegraph. You can read the original article here.