A pioneering radiotherapy treatment developed at Peter Mac is emerging as a new treatment option for cancer that has spread to the lungs, following exciting results in a recent study.

Long-term survival data is now available from the SAFRON II clinical trial, which involved patients with up to three spots of cancer that had metastasized or spread from elsewhere to their lungs.

Patients in this Peter Mac-led trial received a type of high-dose and precisely targeted radiotherapy called SABR (Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy) to treat their cancers, instead of either surgery or ongoing drug therapy, which are standard alternatives.

The long-term data shows that one-in-three had no active cancer at five years, enjoying many years of excellent quality of life without needing ongoing treatments.

Peter Mac Associate Professor Shankar Siva is presenting the latest data at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology conference in Vienna, Austria this week with a simultaneous publication of his paper in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This report describes the long-term outcomes of trial participants from 13 centres across Australia and New Zealand.

A/Prof Siva says the SAFRON II trial provides the most robust evidence to date for any metastasis-targeted cancer treatment in the lung.

“In comparison to surgery, SABR is non-invasive, has fewer side effects, and does not require anaesthesia or hospitalisation, so it has less interruption to life from a patient’s perspective,” he said.

“Compared to lifelong drug therapies, which is another standard alternative, SABR has little impact on quality of life, is approximately 10 times less costly, and can be delivered in as little as one to four visits of one hour each.

"Patients can drive in, drive home for dinner with loved ones on the same day and have all their cancer treatments done. These are exceptional long-term outcomes.”

The single fraction lung SABR treatment was initiated at Peter Mac and introduced nationwide over the last decade. A/Prof Siva has previously led the use of SABR to treat inoperable primary renal cell carcinoma and is proud to be a part of this innovative approach to treat cancer. 

“We are very proud to have helped advance care and improve patient outcomes as leaders in pioneering this new treatment,” he said.

“We believe this approach to treatment has great promise and we’re excited by the results of this trial.” 

Funded by Cancer Australia, this study was led from inception through to delivery by Peter Mac as the lead institution of this TranTasman Radiation Oncology Group trial across Australia and New Zealand.

The paper is titled "Long-Term Outcomes of TROG 13.01 SAFRON II Randomized Trial of Single- Versus Multifraction Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy for Pulmonary Oligometastases" and you can read it in full on the JCO website.



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