An Indian origin oncologist has indicated a new way to treat lymphoma with no major side effects.
Lymphoma is a cancer that affects organs of the immune system, including the lymph nodes. In a subtype of the disease called extranodal lymphoma, tumors arise in non-lymphoid organs, such as the tongue and tonsils.
Patients with extranodal lymphoma of the head and neck often undergo radiation therapy, but this treatment frequently damages the salivary glands and causes dry mouth, which can lead to problems with eating, speaking and swallowing.
According to new research from Fox Chase Cancer Center an advanced radiation therapy technique called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) produces no major side effects and a high response rate in patients with extranodal lymphoma of the head and neck.
IMRT involves using a computer to deliver radiation doses with the optimal intensity and pattern so that the radiation beam conforms to the three-dimensional shape of the tumour and spares healthy surrounding tissue. The procedure is commonly used to treat head and neck cancer because it provides better local control rates and causes fewer side effects, such as dry mouth compared with standard conventional radiation therapy techniques.
“IMRT is a promising technique that should be used to treat extranodal lymphoma, in addition to chemotherapy,” said Aruna Turaka, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase.
“Radiation acts as a form of local treatment that prevents loco- regional relapses, and chemotherapy helps to prevent systemic relapses,” added Turaka.
The findings were presented at the 2011 Pan Pacific Lymphoma Conference.