Expert Point of View: Benjamin Movsas, MD

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Benjamin Movsas, MD, Chair of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, served as moderator at a press conference where the two SBRT studies by Timmerman et al and Ashworth et al were reported.1,2 Dr. Movsas said that SBRT is a promising approach, noting that the therapy facilitates delivery of precise local radiation therapy which is generally well tolerated. For example, Dr. Movsas said “I treated one of my NSCLC patients with SBRT when he was 85 years old; he is now 88 years old and playing golf.  This patient, and those in Dr. Timmerman’s trial, would never have had surgery.”

Dr. Movsas noted that at Henry Ford Hospital SBRT is used primarily for patients with medically inoperable lung cancer. “However, we also offer SBRT as a secondary alternative for patients who decline surgery. These cases are presented to a multidisciplinary tumor board,” he said.

Dr. Movsas said that an estimated 40% to 50% of all centers in the United States are poised to use SBRT.

“The data from both of these studies should help guide radiation oncologists as to which patients would be most likely to benefit from SBRT,” Dr. Movsas said.

“SBRT is a complex treatment requiring physics support and imaging, but it opens a completely new therapeutic strategy for patients with no other options,” Dr. Movsas said.

“This is an opportunity to expand the use of SBRT to appropriately selected patients. We have the technology and can thoughtfully apply it.

However, there may be several treatment options and we need to be careful to offer the right treatment. That’s why multidisciplinary tumor boards are so important,” Dr. Movsas stated.

“A decade ago, patients would get radiation once a day 5 days per week for 7 weeks. SBRT is offered in three precise treatments. The 5-year survival [in Dr. Ashworth’s study] is a very positive result, and we still want to improve on that,” he said. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Movsas reported no potential conflicts of interest.


1. Timmerman R, Hu C, Michalski J, et al: Long-term results of RTOG 0236: A phase II trial of SBRT in the treatment of patients with medically inoperable stage I non-small cell lung cancer. 56th Annual Meeting of ASTRO. Abstract 56. Presented September 15, 2014.

2. Ashworth AB, Senan S, Palma DA, et al: Can we identify long-term, survivors in oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer? ASTRO Annual Meeting. Presented September 16, 2014. Abstract 168.

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