Biology of SABR

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for over 85% of lung cancer cases and is associated with a 5-year survival of 10-20%. Given its high incidence and mortality, NSCLC has been the subject of many studies characterizing mechanisms of initiation, proliferation, invasion and treatment response. Approximately 15-20% of NSCLC patients are diagnosed with early stage disease for which surgical resection is the treatment of choice. Unfortunately, some patients with early-stage NSCLC are inoperable. Until recently, the standard of care for such patients has been conformal fractionated radiotherapy . However, even in patients with stage I inoperable NSCLC, the average 5-year survival with conventional radiation is on the order of 20%.

Ablative radiotherapy offers a technologically advanced form of radiation delivery in which multiple convergent beams are used to accurately deliver a concentrated high dose of radiation to the tumor while minimizing dose to surrounding organs and tissues. Studies on the use of ART for inoperable small tumors show local control rates of 80-90% and 3-year survival rates of 50-60%. Further studies comparing ART to surgery showed that ART has comparable outcomes to surgery and similar survival rates after 2-3years.

My research investigates the biological and cellular response of NSCLC of different genetic backgrounds to ablative and fractionated doses of radiation. The effect of radiation on molecular pathways related to disease progression and survival is also of considerable interest. I use cell-based assays, molecular biology and animal models to decipher and address my research questions.

Adapted from: Oweida A, et al. Differential response to ablative ionizing radiation in genetically distinct non-small cell lung cancer cells. Cancer Biology & Therapy. 2016. 17: 390-399.