The following is the summary of “Increased Utilization of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy is Associated with Decreased Disparities and Improved Survival for Early-Stage NSCLC” published in the January 2023 issue of Clinical Lung Cancer by Ganesh, et al.

Researchers aimed to learn if more people with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer were receiving stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which would reduce treatment gaps in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). From 2004-2017, the fraction of patients with cT1-2aN0M0 NSCLC who underwent surgery, SBRT, or no final treatment was calculated using the National Cancer Database (NCDB). Logistic regressions, both univariate and multivariate, were employed. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result (SEER) database was used in order to determine age-adjusted mortality rates.

From 2004-2017, the percentage of patients with early-stage NSCLC who did not receive any definitive treatment dropped from 22% to 10.5% (P<.001), while the percentage of patients who received SBRT rose from 1% (0.9%) to 22% (21.4%-22.3%; P<.001). The percentage of people receiving no decisive therapy fell from 21% to 10% among Whites (P<.001), and from 32% to 15% among Blacks (P<.001). There was a 22 percentage point rise in the number of Black people who received SBRT between 2008 and 2012 (P<.001). There was a statistically significant rise between 2011 and 2017 in the likelihood that Blacks would receive curative therapy compared to Whites [OR: 0.55 (0.48-0.64) to 0.70 (0.62-0.79; P<.001]. 

Additionally, the age-adjusted death rate for those with early-stage NSCLC fell from 4.3 (4.0-4.5) in 2004 to 0.8 (0.7-0.9) in 2017 (P<.001). More individuals obtaining curative therapy for early-stage NSCLC was related with a decrease in mortality when SBRT was used more frequently. More importantly, the adoption of SBRT leveled the playing field in terms of treatment access between Whites and Blacks. Reducing mortality from NSCLC at an early stage was another benefit related with SBRT.