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Fox Chase Cancer Center Examines New Radiation Treatment for Edometrial Cancer;

IMRT Could Have Fewer Side Effects, Shorter Treatment Time

PHILADELPHIA (September 4, 2003) — IMRT is recognized as the most precise and advanced radiation treatment for prostate cancer, and now physicians at Fox Chase Cancer Center believe women with endometrial cancer also will benefit from this advanced technology.

IMRT is the latest in a series of advances improving on the precision of radiation therapy. Conventional radiotherapy uses a small number of radiation beams of equal intensity. A more advanced approach, called 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy or 3D-CRT, was the first of a new treatment era where several radiation beams are shaped or conformed to the irregular shape and size of the targeted tumor. IMRT is the next generation of conformal treatment.

"Right now, 3D-CRT is the standard treatment for women with endometrial cancer, but we are conducting a clinical trial to find out if IMRT can yield better results for our patients," says Penny Anderson, MD, a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase and the leading physician of a clinical trial comparing IMRT to 3D-CRT. "When 3D-CRT is used to treat endometrial cancer, the small bowel, rectum and bladder are exposed to high doses of radiation leading to potentially significant side effects. We're looking for better results with less side effects and IMRT might offer that."

IMRT, or intensity-modulated radiation therapy, allows for the very precise delivery of radiation by dividing each beam into 60-100 multiple segments. This maximizes the dose to the tumor where it is thickest and minimizes the dose near healthy tissue, enabling oncologists to administer high doses of radiation with extreme precision to the targeted tumor while sparing surrounding healthy organs.

"IMRT is similar to 3D-CRT because we are able to shape the beams for the tumor, but IMRT also allows each radiation beam to vary in intensity," says Anderson. "IMRT gives us excellent control over the radiation dose we deliver, so we anticipate reducing the side-effects common with 3D-CRT."

This clinical trial will also determine if IMRT will allow for a shortened treatment time. "Traditionally with 3D-CRT, women undergo radiation treatment every weekday for five weeks, followed by another two weeks of a high dose therapy 'boost.' With IMRT, we are studying ways to shorten the entire treatment to five weeks, which is a huge advance when it comes to the patient's quality of life," Anderson explains.

Patients wishing to find out more about this clinical trial or to schedule an appointment should call 1-888 FOX CHASE.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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