View more articles about

Patients who received radiation therapy had five-year and 10-year survival rates of 86 percent and 68 percent, respectively; those who did not have radiation therapy had rates of 74 percent and 54 percent. (Credit: iStockphoto)

cancer

Doctors ask: Why is radiation for lymphoma underused?

Despite strong evidence that shows radiation therapy improves outcomes for people with a common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s not always the preferred treatment, experts say.

“Our study highlights the increasing omission of radiation therapy in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its associated negative effect on overall survival at a national level,” says Austin Vargo, a radiation oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and lead author of a paper being presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

“More patients should be offered this effective yet underused treatment.”

“This increasing bias towards the omission of radiation therapy is despite proven efficacy and increasing adoption of lower radiation therapy doses and more modern radiation therapy techniques which decrease risk of side effects,” adds Vargo.

“More patients should be offered this effective yet underused treatment.”

Vargo and colleagues analyzed patterns of care and survival outcomes for 35,961 patients diagnosed with early-stage follicular lymphoma as listed in the National Cancer Data Base. The study found that the use of radiation therapy in these patients decreased from 37 percent in 1999 to 24 percent in 2012 while there were increases in the use of single-agent chemotherapy and observation without any initial treatment.

Patients who received radiation therapy had five-year and 10-year survival rates of 86 percent and 68 percent, respectively; those who did not have radiation therapy had rates of 74 percent and 54 percent.

“Survival with radiation therapy in these cases are higher, and we think that an evidence-based approach should be used by more oncologists when discussing treatments for their patients,” says Dwight E. Heron, a professor and director of radiation services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Source: University of Pittsburgh

Related Articles