Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) is a relatively new treatment modality using high-precision radiotherapy to destroy small cancers in previously difficult to treat parts of the body. In a large North American clinical trial, SBRT was highly effective in treating patients with early-stage lung cancer who could not undergo surgery. The treatment destroyed over 90% of tumors. At the University of Florida, SBRT is used for both primary cancers of the lung as well as metastatic tumors (cancers that spread from another primary site) throughout the body. In patients with limited metastatic disease, SBRT can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy, allow patients to have breaks from chemotherapy, or even result in the cure of cancers previously felt to be incurable.

SBRT utilizes the latest advances in image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) to accurately localize tumors prior to each treatment session. An intense dose of radiation is then precisely delivered from many separate beams all converging on the tumor. This results in destruction of the tumor and spares the surrounding tissues from high-dose radiation, effectively limiting side effects and potential complications of radiation. SBRT is also a convenient form of treatment since, unlike conventionally fractionated radiotherapy which takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, SBRT is completed in a few treatment sessions over 1 to 2 weeks.