News Release

Increased utilization of stereotactic body radiotherapy has decreased treatment disparities for early-stage NSCLC

Reports and Proceedings

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

(Vienna—August 7, 2022; 17:00 CEST)  The use of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) for patients with non-small cell lung cancer can reduce treatment disparities between White and Black patients, according to research presented today at the IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer 2022 in Vienna. 

Previous research has shown significant treatment disparities for Black patients who are less likely to receive curative therapy for early-stage lung cancer. Researchers led by Ashwin Ganesh, from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago sought to determine if increased use of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has led to an increase in the proportion of patients receiving definitive treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). 

SBRT is a form of radiation therapy that allows the radiation to be focused more closely on the cancer tumor, thus sparing healthy tissue and allowing the clinician to use a stronger dose of radiation. 

Dr. Ganesh used The National Cancer Database (NCDB) to determine the proportion of patients with NSCLC receiving surgical treatment, SBRT, or no definitive treatment (observation) for clinical stage T1-T2 N0M0 NSCLC from 2004-2017.  The receipt of treatment for NSCLC was evaluated in terms of the overall population and by race.  

From 2004 to 2017, the proportion of early-stage NSCLC undergoing observation declined from 22% in 2004 to 10.5% in 2017 (p<0.001). Meanwhile, the proportion receiving surgical treatment declined from 77% in 2004 to 68% in 2017 (p<0.001) while the proportion receiving SBRT increased from 1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9%-1.3%) in 2004 to 22% (95% CI 21.4%-22.3%) in 2017 (p<0.001).  

  • Among White patients, the proportion undergoing observation decreased from 21% in 2004 to 10% in 2017 (p<0.001).  

  • Among Black patients, the proportion undergoing observation decreased from 32% (95% CI 29.0%-35.8%) in 2004 to 15% (95% CI 13.4%-15.8%) in 2017 (p<0.001).  

  • The proportion of White patients receiving surgery declined from 78% to 68% from 2004-2017 (p<0.001). In addition, the proportion receiving SBRT increased from 1% in 2004 to 22% (p<0.001).  

  • The proportion of Black patients receiving surgery did not change significantly from 67% (95% CI 63.2%-70.1%) in 2004 to 63% (95% CI 61.6%-64.8%) in 2017 (p=0.09). Meanwhile, the proportion receiving SBRT increased from 1% (95% CI 0.3%-1.7%) in 2004 to 22% (95% CI 20.8%-23.5%) (p<0.001). Between 2011 to 2017 the odds ratio of the likelihood of Blacks to receive curative therapy increased from 0.55 (95% CI 0.48-0.64) to 0.70 (95% CI 0.62-0.79) (p<0.001) when compared to Whites.  

“Our analysis found that Increased utilization of SBRT has significantly increased the proportion of patients who are able to receive curative therapy for early-stage NSCLC and the use of SBRT has markedly reduced previously seen disparities seen in the receipt of treatment between White and Black patients,” said Dr. Ganesh. 

About the WCLC: 

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians and specialists from more than 100 countries. The goal is to increase awareness, collaboration and understanding of lung cancer, and to help participants implement the latest developments across the globe. The conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For more information, visit 


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