When can the cyberknife technology be used?
CyberKnife is the world’s only robotic radiosurgery technology that can be used to treat cancers in any part of the body with a pin-point accuracy and precision. This highly advanced radiation delivery technology is used to treat malignancies and non-cancerous tumours in various organs of the body, including brain, head and neck, prostate, liver, pancreas and other parts. It is a good alternative where surgery is not possible or too complex due to risk factors such as age and patient’s overall health.
With CyberKnife system, a very high ablative dosage can be delivered in a single or only a few sessions. The precision with this technique is equal to or even more than other radiosurgery techniques such as Gamma Knife procedure. As it is a non-invasive method, there are no risks associated with anaesthesia or blood loss. Other than being an excellent alternative to surgery, CyberKnife is also indicated for treatment of post-operative residual or recurrent cancers. Also, it can be used in addition to conventional radiation or other treatment option.
Typically, a Cyberknife radiation treatment can be completed in three to five sittings.
Brain tumours patients are usually good candidates for CyberKnife radiosurgery. The types of brain cancers that are indicated for this treatment include pituitary adenomas, meningiomas and hemangioblastomas, neuromas arising from other nerves, and hemangiopericytomas. It is also recommended as a boost for treating the post-op residual or recurrent cases in malignant gliomas/glioblastomas.
Using radiation for treating prostate tumours can be challenging as prostate may move unpredictably due to the air passing through the rectum or as the bladder gets filled or empty. The CyberKnife system has the ability to continuously identifying the exact location in real-time throughout the treatment, and overcome the challenge. The corrections can be made during the radiation delivery depending on any movement of the prostate. Currently, the CyberKnife radiosurgery treatment is mostly being used as a single treatment option for an early stage (confined to an organ) prostate cancers or combined with external beam radiotherapy to boost the post-op treatment for patients with advanced or intermediate stages of prostate cancer.
Similar to prostate cancer, liver cancer also pose the challenge for radiation therapy as the tumours in liver may move with respiration. Also, the tissue that surround a liver tumour is highly sensitive and can be easily damaged with radiation. CyberKnife Radiosurgery System is a precision based method that delivers very high dosages of radiation to primary as well as metastatic liver tumours with sub-millimeter accuracy. In case of primary liver cancer, radiation therapy may be given before or after a liver transplant or in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy.
The Synchrony Respiratory Tracking System of CyberKnife radiosurgery technique enables the doctor to track tumour movement in real time while delivering radiation. This allows patients to breathe normally throughout the treatment. With this, a moving target (the liver tumour) can be pin-pointed and damages with radiation beam without harming the healthy surrounding tissue.
Cancer in spine
CyberKnife radiosurgery system is indicated for patient with sparing normal spinal cord as it allows treatment with more precision in comparison to other radiation delivery techniques. CyberKnife for local therapy in spinal tumours is used to deliver highly focused radiation specifically to the target, preventing damage to the surrounding normal tissues as much as it can.
For patient with an early stage lung cancer that is limited to a small area in the lung, CyberKnife can be an effective treatment modality. It has been used as an alternative to radical surgery procedure when the patient is not a suitable candidate for it. CyberKnife is also indicated in cases of metastatic lung cancer or after a primary therapy when there is limited residual or recurrent cancer. The advantage of using CyberKnife for lung cancer lies in delivery of high ablative dose of radiation to control the disease in a non-invasive method. The radiosurgery system has the ability to tracking the tumour in real-time while the patient is respirating and treat the disease with minimal damage to healthy cells, thus decreasing the side effects of the radiation treatment.
Head and Neck Cancer
CyberKnife radiosurgery is used as a boost to treat the small vital areas close to the eyes or other critical regions around head and neck. This helps in reducing the amount of dose delivered to these vital areas, as well as the side effects. It is also used for the residual and recurrent disease after the primary therapy, Neck node residual or recurrent disease.
CyberKnife can be used for a short course of radiotherapy in some cases of localised early stage Breast cancer. It can target the postoperative surgical site and eliminate any residual cancer cells. However, only few selected cases are eligible for this procedure, depending on their disease and stage. CyberKnife radiosurgery is also an option for patients with metastatic cancer, where the cancer has spread from the breast to other organs of the body, such as lung, brain, bone or liver, but is still limited in number (< 6) or small size (< 6 cm). It cannot be used if there is a gross widespread of the disease.