Simple changes in care reduced heart exposure during lung cancer radiation treatment

By raising awareness about the correlation between increased radiation exposure and cardiac events, average doses were reduced without minimizing cancer treatment. 

1:01 PM

Author | Anna Megdell

women doc looking ay xray up on bright board
Getty Images

Radiation to the heart during treatment for locally advanced lung cancer is associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiac events within the first two years following treatment. The higher the cardiac dose exposure, the higher the risk of a cardiac event.

A team at the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center, in partnership with the statewide Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium, or MROQC, lung cancer collaborative, co-led by Shruti Jolly, M.D., and Peter Paximadis, M.D., of Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph, Michigan, found that raising awareness about the risk of radiation exposure to the heart and standardizing cardiac exposure limits reduced the average dose to the heart by 15% and reduced the number of patients receiving the highest heart doses by half without minimizing tumor treatment or increasing dosage to other at-risk organs in the chest.

The study, featured in Practical Radiation Oncology, assessed the effectiveness of this education across MROQC. The statewide consortium is a comprehensive clinical and physics database to support quality improvement throughout Michigan, funded through support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network as part of the BCBSM Value Partnerships Program.

The educational program involved spreading awareness of new data coming out about cardiac radiation exposure in NSCLC patients and adjusting cardiac goals within MROQC accordingly. Daniel Herr, M.D., Ph.D., radiation oncology resident and first author of this study, says that increased education and awareness regarding the implication of radiation to the heart had a meaningful impact on clinical practice.

"This study is evidence that relatively simple interventions, when properly targeted, can be effective at improving patient care," Herr said. "It's more evidence that having a large quality consortium like MROQC is a real advantage in terms of improving the quality of care that patients throughout the state of Michigan receive."

Additional authors include Kim A. Hochstedler, M.S., Huiying Yin, M.S., Robert T. Dess, M.D., Martha Matuszak, Ph.D., Margaret Grubb, M.S., Michael Dominello, M.D., Benjamin Movsas, M.D., Larry L. Kestin, M.D., Derek Bergsma, M.D., Aleksandar F. Dragovic, M.D., Inga S. Grills, M.D., James A. Hayman, M.D., Peter Paximadis, M.D., Matthew Schipper, Ph.D., Shruti Jolly, M.D.

Paper cited: "Effect of Education and Standardization of Cardiac Dose Constraints on Heart Dose in Patients With Lung Cancer Receiving Definitive Radiation Therapy Across a Statewide Consortium," Practical Radiation Oncology. DOI: 10.1016/j.prro.2022.01.002


More Articles About: Lab Notes Cancer Research Cancer Treatment Radiation Oncology lung cancer Cancer: Help, Diagnosis & Treatment
Health Lab word mark overlaying blue cells
Health Lab

Explore a variety of healthcare news & stories by visiting the Health Lab home page for more articles.

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

[email protected]

734-764-2220

Stay Informed

Want top health & research news weekly? Sign up for Health Lab’s newsletters today!

Subscribe
Featured News & Stories Blue image of a microscopic helix strand
Health Lab
Researchers discover urine based test to detect head and neck cancer
At-home test can detect tumor DNA fragments in urine samples, providing a non-invasive alternative to traditional blood-based biomarker tests
Health Lab
Father’s cancerous brain tumor found weeks after the birth of his daughter
Father’s cancerous brain tumor found weeks after the birth of his daughter
Spilled pills next to a stethoscope and pile of cash
Health Lab
Drug pricing program improved prostate cancer treatment adherence
Socially vulnerable patients were more likely to stick with oral medications when treated at a hospital participating in 340B program, suggesting these hospitals may have more resources to help patients.
Microscopic image of bone marrow with pink and white hues
Health Lab
Novel risk score for cardiovascular complications after bone marrow transplant
More bone marrow transplants, also known as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, are being offered to older patients, a population at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
cancer cell blue yellow
Health Lab
Less chemoradiation is possible for some cancer patients
Some oropharynx cancer patients may qualify for less radiation treatments, according to a new study from experts at the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center.
cancer cell blue yellow
Health Lab
Targeted drug shows promising ability in treating rare head and neck cancers
Experts at Rogel Cancer Center develop and study the impact of a new drug for salivary gland cancers