J Cancer 2020; 11(17):5056-5068. doi:10.7150/jca.44408


Radiobiology of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR): perspectives of clinical oncologists

Shan Li, Liangfang Shen

Department of Oncology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, No. 87, Xiangya Road, Changsha, Hunan Province 410008, China

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Li S, Shen L. Radiobiology of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR): perspectives of clinical oncologists. J Cancer 2020; 11(17):5056-5068. doi:10.7150/jca.44408. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v11p5056.htm

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Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is a novel radiation treatment method that delivers an intense dose of radiation to the treatment targets with high accuracy. The excellent local control and tolerance profile of SABR have made it become an important modality in cancer treatment. The radiobiology of SABR is a key factor in understanding and further optimizing the benefits of SABR. In this review, we have addressed several issues in the radiobiology of SABR from the perspective of clinical oncologists. The appropriateness of the linear-quadratic (LQ) model for SABR is controversial based on preclinical data, but it is a reliable tool from the perspective of clinical application because the biological effective dose (BED) calculated with it can represent the tumor control probability (TCP). Hypoxia is a common phenomenon in SABR in spite of the relatively small tumor size and has a negative effect on the efficacy of SABR. Preliminary studies indicate that a hypoxic radiosensitizer combined with SABR may be a feasible strategy, but so far there is not adequate evidence to support its application in routine practice. The vascular change of endothelial apoptosis and blood perfusion reduction in SABR may enhance the response of tumor cells to radiation. Combination of SABR with anti-angiogenesis therapy has shown promising efficacy and good tolerance in advanced cancers. SABR is more powerful in enhancing antitumor immunity and works better with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) than conventional fractionation radiotherapy. Combination of SABR with ICIs has become a practical option for cancer patients with metastases.

Keywords: Radiobiology, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, SABR, oncologist