News Release

NRG Oncology shows safety of stereotactic body radiotherapy to treat multiple metastases

Peer-Reviewed Publication

NRG Oncology

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The first National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical study examining stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) in the treatment of oligometastatic breast, prostate, and non-small cell lung (NSCLC) cancers displayed evidence that SBRT can be safely used to treat patients who have multiple metastases. These results were recently published in JAMA Oncology.

The results of the Phase I NRG-BR001 trial, conducted by the NCI National Clinical Trials Network group NRG Oncology, indicate that SBRT treatment in standard doses was safe for 35 evaluable patients with a median of 3 metastases. There were no dose-limiting toxicities and over 50% of trial participants were alive at 2 years following treatment.

"Prior to this trial, little to no evidence was available to support that SBRT is a safe and tolerable treatment option for patients who have multiple metastases. Researchers have hypothesized that SBRT could improve survival outcomes for this patient population; however, it was imperative we determine the safety of this procedure, appropriate dose and scheduling, and how to coordinate across multiple centers the quality assurance of the procedures prior to testing its efficacy," stated Steven J. Chmura, MD, PhD, of the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center and the lead author of the NRG-BR001 manuscript. "To ensure safety, this trial used an extensive radiation QA process to test the accuracy of treating moving tumors and was the first NRG trial to require the use of 3D image guidance during treatment for soft tissue tumors."

NRG-BR001 enrolled up to 6 evaluable patients for each of the following 7 selected anatomic locations: bone/osseous (BO), spinal/paraspinal (SP), peripheral lung (PL), central lung (CL), abdominal/pelvic (AP), mediastinal/cervical lymph node (MC), and liver (L). As a single patient could contribute to more than one location, the safety question was able to be answered with 35 evaluable patients from the 42 enrolled trial participants. Patients were required to have 3-4 metastases or 2 metastases in close proximity to each other. SBRT starting dose was 50 GY over 5 fractions for the CL and MC groups, 45 GY over 3 fractions for the PL, AP, and L groups and 30 Gy over 3 fractions for the BO and SP group. Additional patients would be accrued as needed at defined de-escalated doses if any of the starting doses were not deemed to be safe.

The 35 evaluable patients had breast (n=12), NSCLC (n=10), and prostate (n=13) cancers. No dose de-escalations were needed. There were 8 instances of grade 3 adverse events. There were no treatment-related deaths.

SBRT for multiple metastases is now utilized in multiple ongoing Phase II and III NCI-sponsored trials. Follow-up research should be done in long surviving oligometastatic patients.

"These are important data from the multicenter study, confirming that complicated stereotactic body radiotherapy to multiple sites is safe and feasible. We eagerly await the results of ongoing, larger randomized trials to demonstrate how effective this is when compared to drug therapy alone for metastatic cancer," stated Mitchell Machtay, MD, the Associate Dean for Clinical Cancer Research at the Penn State College of Medicine and the interim Group Chair for NRG Oncology.


NRG Oncology BR001 was supported by grants UG1CA189867 (NRG Oncology NCORP), U10CA180868 (NRG Oncology Operations), U10CA180822 (NRG Oncology SDMC), U24CA180803 (IROC) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).


Chmura S, Winter KA, Robinson C, Pisansky TM, Borges V, Al-Hallaq H, Matuszak M, Park SS, Yi S, Hasan Y, Bazan J, Wong P, Yoon HA, Horton J, Gan G, Milano M, Sigurdson ER, Moughan J, Salama JK, White J. The Safety of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) for the Treatment of Multiple Metastases: Findings from the NRG Oncology NRG-BR001. JAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.0687. [Epub ahead of print].

About NRG Oncology

NRG Oncology conducts practice-changing, multi-institutional clinical and translational research to improve the lives of patients with cancer. Founded in 2012, NRG Oncology is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit corporation that integrates the research of the legacy National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), and Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) programs. The research network seeks to carry out clinical trials with emphases on gender-specific malignancies, including gynecologic, breast, and prostate cancers, and on localized or locally advanced cancers of all types. NRG Oncology's extensive research organization comprises multidisciplinary investigators, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, physicists, pathologists, and statisticians, and encompasses more than 1,300 research sites located world-wide with predominance in the United States and Canada. NRG Oncology is supported primarily through grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and is one of five research groups in the NCI's National Clinical Trials Network.

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