Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT/SABR)


Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), also called stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), is a type of radiation therapy in which a few very high doses of radiation are delivered to small, well-defined tumours. It’s an extremely precise kind of radiation therapy - accurate to within one to two millimetres.

SBRT is typically used to treat small, early-stage tumours of the lung, or isolated recurrences from various types of cancer. These are generally tumours that can’t be surgically removed because they move within the body, are too hard to reach surgically or too close to vital organs.
Because SABR is so precise, less of the surrounding healthy tissue is affected and radiation can be delivered at a much higher dose. This means that treatment can be completed in shorter time frames than traditional radiation therapy.

Read an article written by Dr Louis Lao about SABR and it's uses and benefits (article on page 11 of this publication)

In more detail

SABR is typically used to treat small, early-stage tumours of the lung, or metastases from various types of cancer. SABR has also been used successfully to treat early-stage non-small cell lung cancer, recurrent lung parenchyma cancer, pancreatic cancer, and metastatic cancers in the Lung, Liver and Adrenal glands.

Read this factsheet from Oncology Nurse Advisor about Metastatic Cancer

SABR uses the latest image guidance technologies to ablate or remove tumours with millimetre-scale accuracy. The ability to spare healthy tissue while intensifying the radiation dose is the primary advantage of SABR over other treatment modalities, particularly when critical structures are located near the treatment area.
This precision is enabled by a combination of advanced techniques and technologies. Three or four dimensional imaging like 4D-CT, MRI, and PET-CT determine the exact size, shape and location of the tumour. Similarly, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) confirms the location of a tumour just before or during the delivery of radiation. This, combined with immobilization systems such as HexaPOD™ evo RT System and BodyFIX®, to keep the patient still, means the radiation beams stay focussed the tumour.
Although SABR can be delivered in higher doses, treatment of larger tumours may still be spread over a number of sessions. This is usually referred to as fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy. In larger tumours more healthy tissue is being exposed to radiation, which can cause more severe side effects. Lowering the dose and fractioning the treatment gives the normal tissue time to heal.

Patient information: ARO Patient Factsheet - SABR for Lung