Evidence-based Review on Radiation for Brain Tumors
Sep 11, 2005 - 9:40:38 PM

The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology gathered a panel of experts to compile and analyze existing studies on the use of radiosurgery, a specialized type of external beam radiation therapy that pinpoints high doses of radiation to treat brain tumors. The panel has developed evidence-based reviews that consolidate the information available and identify questions to be answered in future research. The two new reviews are published in the September 1, 2005 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.

Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current evidence in making decisions about the care of patients. The papers are generated by a panel of recognized experts in the field and summarize information ranging from a single randomized, controlled trial to descriptive studies based on clinical experience and the opinions of respected authorities. The review takes current medical literature on a certain topic, in this case brain tumors, and identifies questions for further research.

In this instance, the panel of doctors reviewed all available information on radiosurgery for both brain metastases and malignant glioma from the published literature and scientific meetings of several cancer organizations, including ASTRO, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. After carefully assessing the literature, the panel created a summary of the evidence in the use of radiosurgery for brain metastases and one for malignant glioma; each provide centrally located treatment information for doctors and chart a course for further research.

“It is not known whether or not the research we recommend will be superior or equivalent to the current treatment,” said May N. Tsao, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and lead author of the malignant glioma review. “However, we owe it to the patients suffering from brain tumors to find out.”

“Evidence-based reviews are living documents that reflect the best practice for a disease site at a particular time,” said Minesh P. Meta, M.D., a radiation oncologist at University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, Wis. and lead author of the review on brain metastases. “They help us find gaps in research and provide us with a road map of where future research needs to be targeted.”

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