“This clinical trial is being conducted in patients with a common form of lung cancer, who have had standard radiation versus those who have had proton radiation. Both groups will also receive simultaneous chemotherapy,” says Dr. Emily Daugherty, assistant professor of radiation oncology at UC and a UC Health radiation oncologist. “Patients will be randomized to receive either proton or standard radiation and they will be monitored for at least two years to assess cancer control (whether or not it spreads) as well as quality-of-life outcomes and potential side effects.”
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death, with an estimated 228,150 new cases to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2019 and about 142,670 expected deaths from lung cancer this year — 80 to 85% of these cases are nonsmall cell type. Radiation therapy is a critical component of treatment, especially in these stages of lung cancer, as most patients are not treated with surgery.”
Daugherty, local principal investigator of the study, further explains that major advancements have been made over the past decade in regard to radiation, which has led to significantly improved outcomes for patients. However, patients can still experience side effects due to the location of their tumors.
“Radiation may negatively impact the normal function of the lungs and the esophagus,” she says. “We want to see if a more targeted approach could eliminate some of these residual problems.”
Daugherty adds that researchers will assess quality-of-life measures for patients, including shortness of breath, sore throat and other breathing-related issues.
“We also want to look at the cost-effectiveness of each treatment and explore the most appropriate and clinically relevant technologies in order to provide patients with the highest standard of care,” she says. “We hope that this trial will provide further insight into the potential benefits of proton therapy for lung cancer and to provide another option for our patients.”