The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) have released practice guidelines for image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in the February issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.
These guidelines were released as educational tools to assist practitioners in providing appropriate, effective and safe medical care for patients.
IGRT uses digitally reconstructed images of a treatment area to direct radiation to a tumor. Images are taken during the treatment planning process and then directly before a patient receives radiation. Both images are transferred to a computer in the treatment room, allowing physicians to compare these images and adjust treatment accordingly to better target the cancer while avoiding nearby healthy tissue.
The IGRT guidelines address the clinical implementation of IGRT, including personnel qualifications, quality assurance standards and suggested documentation.
SBRT is a type of external beam radiation therapy that can be completed in one to five days rather than several weeks and is most commonly used for small tumors. This is a newer form of treatment that is rapidly evolving and requires levels of precision and accuracy that surpass the requirements of conventional fractionated radiation therapy or intensity-modulated delivery. It also requires a coordinated effort between the radiation oncologist, the medical physicist, the medical dosimetrist and the radiation therapist.
The guideline will provide practitioners with guidance in administering this complex treatment and define quality criteria in view of the high technical demands of SBRT.
"Since radiation treatments are constantly evolving, it's important that we provide members of the radiation oncology treatment team with guidance on how to best administer treatments," Louis Potters, M.D., an author of the guidelines and chairman and professor at the North Shore LIJ Health System Department of Radiation Medicine in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said. "While it is up to a physician to determine the best and most appropriate care for his or her patients, we hope that these guidelines help to set a standard of quality that ensures patients are receiving optimal care."
ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.