Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for early-stage lung cancer in the elderly

Semin Oncol. 2018 Aug;45(4):210-219. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jul 1.


Early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is on the rise due to the implementation of screening guidelines for patients at risk for developing lung cancer. It is anticipated that as the US population continues to age, there will be a higher percentage of medically inoperable early-stage lung cancer patients. For this reason, noninvasive ablative therapies are necessary. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is an effective modality in addressing early-stage NSCLC. SBRT consists of high-dose radiation delivered over 3-5 treatments. Several randomized trials comparing surgery to SBRT in early-stage operable patients have unfortunately closed early due to poor accrual. However, a recent pooled analysis from 2 randomized trials (StereoTActic Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery Or Surgery for operable Early-stage non-small cell Lung cancer) comparing surgery to SBRT did show comparable local control and overall survival rates between surgery and SBRT, offering a very effective, noninvasive modality for older adult patients with early-stage NSCLC. In this review, we summarize the role of SBRT in early-stage NSCLC, in particularly applied to the older adult population.

Keywords: Elderly; Lung cancer; Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); Older adult; Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR); Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Male
  • Radiosurgery / methods*