Navigate Up
UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Integrated Approach to Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy Provides Quality Care for Cancer Patients

PHILADELPHIA, November 7, 2006 — Results from a University of Pittsburgh study demonstrate that intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) can be uniformly delivered in a large health care system of academic and community cancer centers through a centralized planning and treatment process. The findings, presented today at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Philadelphia, demonstrate that patients can receive consistent quality of care despite geographic distances. 

“Our study demonstrates that it is feasible for patients to receive IMRT in their own communities without sacrificing high-quality care,” said Ajay Bhatnagar, M.D., principal investigator of the study and chief resident, department of radiation oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This is possible through an integrated network in which treatment is standardized across all cancer centers.”

According to study results, there were no significant differences in toxicity profiles and recommended radiation dose prescriptions in 758 prostate cancer patients treated with IMRT at 12 separate community cancer centers and one academic flagship facility. All 13 centers, connected through a telemedicine network, followed the same clinical pathway guidelines for the radiotherapy management of prostate cancer, which included specific details on volumes for radiation treatment planning and recommended doses of IMRT. 

“By standardizing planning and treatment for IMRT, patients who live in remote locations can benefit from the same quality of care available at a large academic medical center,” said Dwight E. Heron, M.D., study co-author and associate professor of radiation oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of radiation oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “Bringing advanced radiation therapy to community locations can have a very positive effect on a patient’s quality of life by relieving the anxiety and stress of traveling for treatment.”

IMRT treatment planning for the centers was performed at one central location, D3 Radiation Planning, located in Pittsburgh, Pa. Through telemedicine capabilities, medical physicists based at D3 collaborated with radiation oncologists at community locations to develop individualized treatment plans for the patients.  

“D3 has worked closely with UPMC physicians in developing standardized approaches for IMRT treatment planning for prostate cancer,” said Robin Green, CEO of D3. “Centralizing the treatment planning and delivery process can provide an effective and efficient way to consistently provide high-quality treatment.”

Co-authors of the study include Ryan Smith, M.D., Sushil Beriwal, M.D., Saiful Huq, Ph.D., John Flickinger, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Ron Lalonde, Ph.D., D3 Radiation Planning. UPMC is invested in D3 Radiation Planning.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com