Technology Focus – CyberKnife Treatment for Brain Metastases
CyberKnife® offers new hope to cancer patients diagnosed with Brain Metastases.
Metastatic brain cancer occurs when cancer spreads to the brain from another part of the body. Approximately 20-40% of people with cancer will develop brain metastases. The most common types of cancer to spread to the brain are lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer and melanoma. More people than ever are being diagnosed with this condition. This increase is diagnosis is due to improvements in imaging technologies and cancer treatment, helping people with cancer live longer.
There are two main treatments for cancer that has spread to the brain: surgery and radiation therapy.
One type of radiation therapy, called stereotactic radiosurgery, uses advanced imaging and computer guidance to deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor. The technology used for this treatment must be very precise in order to protect nearby healthy tissue.
There are several systems that offer stereotactic treatment of brain metastases. These include the CyberKnife system, modified linear accelerators, and the Gamma Knife® system. For certain clinical situations, there can be important differences between these devices. For some patients, these differences may have a significant impact on treatment outcome.
CyberKnife treatment offers outpatient procedures with minimal side effects and enhanced patient comfort.
The CyberKnife system at Spokane CyberKnife and Summit Cancer Centers’ Spokane Valley location uses contemporary technology and is the only system that incorporates a miniature linear accelerator mounted on a flexible robotic arm. It uses state-of -the-art image guidance, which can track a target location during treatment. This ability enables the CyberKnife to offer superior treatment targeting accuracy without the need for an invasive head frame. CyberKnife is the only system that does not require the invasive head frame.
CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System at Summit Cancer Centers
In contrast, the Gamma Knife procedure requires the placement of an invasive and somewhat painful head frame for treatment. Since the frame is fixed to the skull with screws, it must come off at the end of the day. Otherwise, patients would not be able to function at home or sleep with the frame mounted to their skull. With a typical Gamma Knife procedure, the head frame is usually mounted to the skull in the morning. The treatment session is performed in the afternoon, followed by the removal of the frame. This means any tumor that requires more than one treatment to the brain cannot be treated with the Gamma Knife system.
Radiosurgery delivered over multiple treatments can be particularly beneficial for larger tumors or lesions located near the nerves, brainstem, eyes, or other sensitive structures. A recently published scientific study shows that three treatments for any brain metastases larger than two centimeters are better than a single treatment. The study also showed a reduced rate of side effects and complications with the three treatment sessions compared to a single session.
The CyberKnife system has a big advantage for treating brain metastases. We can safely and effectively treat in three sessions with very precise targeting.
At Spokane CyberKnife and Summit Cancer Centers, we are experts at using the most advanced cancer treatment techniques, including the CyberKnife system. We can deliver precise doses of radiation directly to brain tumors, while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissues.