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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Stereotactic body radiation therapy in the re-irradiation situation – a review

Frederick Mantel*, Michael Flentje and Matthias Guckenberger

Author Affiliations

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:7  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-7

Published: 5 January 2013

Abstract

Although locoregional relapse is frequent after definitive radiotherapy (RT) or multimodal treatments, re-irradiation is only performed in few patients even in palliative settings like e.g. vertebral metastasis. This is most due to concern about potentially severe complications, especially when large volumes are exposed to re-irradiation. With technological advancements in treatment planning the interest in re-irradiation as a local treatment approach has been reinforced. Recently, several studies reported re-irradiation for spinal metastases using SBRT with promising local and symptom control rates and simultaneously low rates of toxicity. These early data consistently indicate that SBRT is a safe and effective treatment modality in this clinical situation, where other treatment alternatives are rare. Similarly, good results have been shown for SBRT in the re-irradiation of head and neck tumors. Despite severe late adverse effects were reported in several studies, especially after single fraction doses >10 Gy, they appear less frequently compared to conventional radiotherapy. Few studies with small patient numbers have been published on SBRT re-irradiation for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Overall survival (OS) is limited by systemic progression and seems to depend particularly on patient selection. SBRT re-irradiation after primary SBRT should not be practiced in centrally located tumors due to high risk of severe toxicity. Only limited data is available for SBRT re-irradiation of pelvic tumors: feasibility and acceptable toxicity has been described, suggesting SBRT as a complementary treatment modality for local symptom control.

Keywords:
Stereotactic body radiotherapy; Radiosurgery; Re-irradiation; Locoregional recurrence; Normal tissue tolerance; Spinal metastases; NSCLC; Head and neck cancer; Pelvic tumors