Role of radiotherapy and newer techniques in the treatment of GI cancers

Carla Hajj, Karyn A. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The role of radiotherapy in multidisciplinary treatment of GI malignancies is well established. Recent advances in imaging as well as radiotherapy planning and delivery techniques have made it possible to target tumors more accurately while sparing normal tissues. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy is an advanced method of delivering radiation using cutting-edge technology to manipulate beams of radiation. The role of intensity-modulated radiotherapy is growing for many GI malignancies, such as cancers of the stomach, pancreas, esophagus, liver, and anus. Stereotactic body radiotherapy is an emerging treatment option for some GI tumors such as locally advanced pancreatic cancer and primary or metastatic tumors of the liver. Stereotactic body radiotherapy requires a high degree of confidence in tumor location and subcentimeter accuracy of the delivered dose. New image-guided techniques have been developed to overcome setup uncertainties at the time of treatment, including real-time imaging on the linear accelerator. Modern imaging techniques have also allowed for more accurate pretreatment staging and delineation of the primary tumor and involved sites. In particular, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scans can be particularly useful in radiotherapy planning and assessing treatment response. Molecular biomarkers are being investigated as predictors of response to radiotherapy with the intent of ultimately moving toward using genomic and proteomic determinants of therapeutic strategies. The role of all of these new approaches in the radiotherapeutic management of GI cancers and the evolving role of radiotherapy in these tumor sites will be highlighted in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1737-1744
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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