Advanced Treatment for Lymphoma

Head and neck lymphoma responds to Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

(RxWiki News) You learn you have a rare cancer located at the back of your throat. Traditional therapies might affect your ability to eat, speak and swallow. A new study shows advanced radiation therapy is effective in treating this type of cancer without harsh side effects.

Researchers have found that Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) works well for treating extranodal (outside the lymph nodes) lymphoma of the head and neck. Patients respond to this advanced therapy that doesn't leave them with major or serious side effects that can affect the quality of their lives.

"Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy works well in treating head and neck lymphomas."

The study, conducted by the Fox Chase Cancer Center, was designed to see if IMRT, which is commonly used to treat oral cancers, would be best for treating this form of lymphoma.

Lead investigator, Aruna Turaka, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase, and colleagues studied the results of five patients who had received IMRT between 2007 and 2010 to treat localized tumors. Four of the  patients had also had chemotherapy.

IMRT uses a computer to zero in on the tumor in 3D pattern that spares surrounding tissues. It's commonly used for treating head and neck cancer.

After undergoing the IMRT, patients showed improvements with only minor side effects. There were no recurrences of cancer in the head and neck and no evidence of tissue abnormalities as seen in positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

One of the participants did have cancer return in other areas of the body. The other four lived throughout the follow-up period.

This study was presented at 2011 Pan Pacific Lymphoma Conference. Research findings are considered preliminary before they are published in peer-reviewed journals.

Review Date: 
August 17, 2011