Public Release:  Less brain swelling occurs with multiple sessions of SRS for common brain tumor

Georgetown University Medical Center

CHICAGO - Treating a common brain tumor with multiple sessions of radiation appears to result in less brain swelling than treating the tumor once with a high dose of radiation, say researchers from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital.

Benign brain tumors known as meningiomas are often treated with a single, high dose of radiation using stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). At Georgetown, SRS is conducted using CyberKnife. A single SRS treatment leads to good tumor control; however, post-treatment swelling (edema) is a common and potentially serious complication.

In a study presented today at the 51st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in Chicago, the Georgetown researchers say there appears to be a safer option.

"Like the single dose, delivering lower doses of radiation in three, four or five CyberKnife sessions leads to good control," says Georgetown's Christopher Lominska, MD, lead author of the study and chief resident in radiation medicine. "The multiple sessions have the added bonus of causing less edema."

For the study, researchers reviewed the records of 81 patients treated at Georgetown from April 2002 to April 2008. "Edema tended to occur less often in the patients who received multiple SRS treatments," Lominska says. "Three, four or five treatment sessions with the CyberKnife appear to result in a low edema rate equivalent to conventional radiation therapy which often involves 30 treatment sessions. That means SRS with CyberKnife allows good tumor control with fewer side-effects, and in less time than conventional therapy."

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Lominska reports no related financial interests. Co-author Greg Gagnon has served as a paid speaker and consultant for Accuray, the manufacturer of the CyberKnife.

Patients seeking more information about cancer treatment at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center should call 202-444-4000.

About Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Hospital

Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis - caring for the whole person - Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment. Georgetown's centers of excellence include cancer, neurosciences, gastroenterology, transplant and vascular diseases. Along with Magnet nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, Georgetown's healthcare professionals have a reputation of medical excellence and leadership. Georgetown University Hospital is a proud member of MedStar Health.

About Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through Georgetown's affiliation with MedStar Health). GUMC's mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), home to 60 percent of the university's sponsored research funding.

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