While receiving radiation treatment for any cancerous disease, patients put everything at risk to be cured. A standard linear accelerator (LINAC), the device most commonly used for radiation treatments for cancer patients, delivers high-energy electromagnetic waves to the region of the patient’s tumor. While a LINAC has been widely successful in reducing and even eliminating cancer in many patients, the effects on a patient’s body overall can be debilitating and can take months to complete. One of the largest concerns of radiation therapy is toxicity.

The Effects of Acute Toxicity

When exposing the body to high levels of radiation in a short period, as usually performed in cancer treatments, the healthy cells are also adversely affected. White blood cells that fight off infection and sickness, red blood cells that provide oxygen to the body, and even DNA that contains the body’s genetic makeup can be damaged. This can lead to tissues, organs and body systems not functioning effectively or optimally. Other negative effects that have been observed are depression, fatigue, and infertility to name a few. Leading oncologists and oncology foundations have investigated the best ways to reduce patients’ overall exposure to radiation during chemotherapy, as well as to increase the accuracy and effectiveness of the beam to target tumors. The Lancet Oncology journal reported on the results of a trial called Prostate Advances in Comparative Evidence (PACE) that compared patients’ toxicity levels from a standard LINAC to the levels from the Accuray CyberKnife® system and below is what they found.

The PACE Trial

The Accuray CyberKnife® system is designed to deliver stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). SBRT externally administers very high doses of radiation over a small number of treatment sessions. For this PACE trial, patients with prostate cancer were treated with either a standard LINAC or an SBRT. The LINAC required between 20 and 40 sessions, while the SBRT required only 5 sessions. The results indicated that the acute genitourinary toxicity level of grade 2 or higher was lower in patients treated with the CyberKnife® System than it for patients treated on a LINAC. The prostate gland can move erratically because of normal bodily functions. This makes it imperative to be able to track, detect, correct and maintain sub-millimetric accuracy of the position of the beam throughout treatment. SBRT makes it easier for clinicians to effectively treat patients while minimizing toxicity and radiation exposure to healthy tissue.

How Can CyberKnife Help Improve Your Quality of Life?

Chief Investigator Dr. Nicholas van As, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Reader at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said “Developments in radiotherapy such as SBRT mean we can target tumors much more effectively…Using SBRT to deliver this treatment would mean that patients could be spared numerous visits to the hospital, allowing them to get back to their lives sooner." (Accuray Incorporated, 2020). The CyberKnife
System is the best robotic radiosurgery system that provides highly precise, non-surgical treatment for tumors and lesions anywhere from the brain and spine to the pancreas and prostate. The CyberKnife System tracks and automatically adjusts for optimal positioning and treatment delivery to tumors, even through patient movement.

Get better results with less treatment at CyberKnife Center of Miami. If you have any questions about our cancer treatment services or to schedule an appointment please call our office at (800) 204-0455 or visit our website at www.cyberknifemiami.com.

Accuray Incorporated (2020). Data Published in The Lancet Oncology Suggest CyberKnife® Prostate Patients Experienced Lower Levels of Acute Genitourinary Toxicity (Grade 2 or Higher) Than Patients Treated on a Conventional Linear Accelerator. [online] Prnewswire.com. Available at: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/data-published-in-the-lancet-oncology-suggest-cyberknife-prostate-patients-experienced-lower-levels-of-acute-genitourinary-toxicity-grade-2-or-higher-than-patients-treated-on-a-conventional-linear-accelerator-300919972.html [Accessed 25 Jan. 2020].