Surgery News

New study to assess preventative brain radiation therapy for lung cancer patients

February 29, 2016

The study finds that patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with PCI have a significantly decreased risk of developing brain metastases by 10 percent (from 18 percent to 8 percent), compared with those who did not receive the treatment.

Although there was no significant impact on quality of life, patients who underwent PCI had a greater decline in immediate memory recall and delayed memory recall than patients who did not have PCI.

"This study offers patients a look at both sides of the coin with this treatment, allowing them to make an informed decision about their care," says Dr. Movsas. "Now that we have a more complete perspective and know the challenges, we need to move forward to develop strategies to reduce the risk of neurocognitive changes after brain radiation."

Already a RTOG study is underway to test memantine, a medication approved for Alzheimer's disease, to see if it may help improve memory following brain radiation.

Dr. Movsas notes the potential for exploring other strategies, such as using newer radiation technologies like intensity modulated radiation therapy, for a more precise treatment that will spare parts of the brain associated with memory.

Source: Henry Ford Health System