Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is associated with improved survival in elderly patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have concurrent comorbid conditions compared with observation alone, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer has shown.1

SBRT is currently the standard of care for medically inoperable, early stage NSCLC; however, the impact of SBRT on survival in elderly patients was not clear.

Therefore, researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, sought to evaluate whether definitive SBRT improves survival vs observation alone in patients age 70 years and older.

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Researchers retrospectively analyzed data from a total of 3,147 patients age 70 years or older with T1-T3N0M0 NSCLC who received SBRT alone or no treatment. Of those, 258 received SBRT while 2,889 received no treatment.

Results showed that the SBRT group had a 36% lower risk of death than those in the no treatment arm (HR = 0.64; P<0.001).

The findings suggest that SBRT can be used for the treatment of elderly patients with early stage NSCLC who have limiting comorbid conditions.


  1. Nanda RH, Liu Y, Gillespie TW, et al. Stereotactic body radiation therapy versus no treatment for early stage non-small cell lung cancer in medically inoperable elderly patients: A National Cancer Data Base analysis [published online ahead of print September 8, 2015]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29640.