Driving Change for the Future of Radiation Oncology

Mike Hennessy
Published: Sunday, Jun 05, 2016
Mike Hennessy

OncLive Chairman,
Mike Hennessy

As we approach the 1-year anniversary of Contemporary Radiation Oncology (CRO) publication, it occurs to me, upon reflection, how much change has occurred in the utilization of radiation oncology for cancer treatment in recent months.

In fact, you, the nation’s leading radiation oncologists, have been instrumental in promoting change and advancement in your field and its impact on health care. Just recently, 95 radiation oncologists met with members of Congress to advocate for sustained increases in federal funding for cancer research.

Nearly 150 meetings with Congressional leaders from the oncologists’ home districts occurred on May 24 as part of the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO) 13th Annual Advocacy Day. The meetings were held to encourage members of Congress to provide sustainable, predictable research funding, as well as to protect patient access to quality health care through the stabilization of Medicare payments, the pursuit of innovative physician reimbursement methods, ending abuse of physician self-referrals, and preserving funding/residency slots for graduate medical education.

The Federally driven National Cancer Moonshot Initiative has drawn attention to advancing progress in cancer research, and this recent effort by ASTRO members was motivated by their desire for radiation oncology to be a part of this national conversation. With our Contemporary Radiation Oncology journal, we are proud to have been able to be part of this conversation as well, and to promote change and advancement in radiation oncology by providing cutting-edge research on the forefront of the field.

This issue is no exception. Our opening article, “Hypofractionated and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy in Prostate Cancer: A Review,” looks at a bold treatment strategy for prostate cancer, the most common non-cutaneous cancer among men in the United States. Radiation therapy, in combination with androgen deprivation, is a preferred treatment option, but due to the time commitment and cost involved, shorter-course regimens such as hypofractionated and stereotactic body radiontherapy have emerged for this tumor type. Based on findings from the latest data, the authors review the effectiveness and potential of these treatment approaches. “Radiation Dose Escalation to the Tumor- Arterial Interface of Locally Advanced and Borderline Resectable Pancreatic Cancer” looks at the growing use of escalated doses of radiation to improve tumor resectability in pancreatic cancer. The authors discuss their experiences integrating a radiation boost to the tumor-arterial interface in borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer with the objective of downstaging.

In “eContour: Evidence-Based Interactive Contouring Resources at the Point of Care,” the authors review new technologies in radiation oncology such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy, image-guided stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotactic body radiation therapy. They feel these methods of target delineation, referred to as “contouring,” are exemplary means of delivering safe, effective radiation therapy, but can increase toxicity.

As accuracy is critical in such contouring methods, new tools have emerged to help oncologists manage this approach. This article reviews the effectiveness and user-friendliness of one such tool, an open-access contouring resource known as eContour.

In this issue’s Strategic Alliance Partnership section, Dr Hui-Kuo Shu of Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology discusses how the addition of an advanced volumetric spectroscopic MRI has impacted the department’s imaging glioblastoma brain tumors in comparison to standard contrast-enhanced MRI.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from this issue of CRO.


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