Tumor biology
Tumor biology

Knowing the tumor biology can improve radiotherapy

The high level of precision of radiotherapy does not have the same success in all patients – the reason why lies in the tumor itself

Cancer doesn’t just differ by size and location, but also in the tumor biology, an area which is gradually being tapped into and understood more and more through research. Knowing the tumor biology can improve the success of radiotherapy even further in the future. Tumors are currently already examined in order to be able to tailor the treatment to the individual circumstances in the best way possible. Parameters such as the size, shape and demarcation with surrounding tissue are therefore as decisive as the stage of the disease. However, while some patients see a complete regression of the tumor over the course of radiation treatment, in some patients the response by the tumor is significantly less. Cancer researchers believe that the cause lies in the tumor biology. And in fact, there are biological differences in the tissue.

Tumor biology depends on cancer stem cells

An example of a factor that is decisive in the biological quality of the tumor is the quantity of cancer stem cells it contains. We now know that cancer stem cells are the cells of origin of the tumor and allow the cancerous tissue to grow. Investigations into tumor biology have shown that the tumor reacts poorer to the radiation the higher the density of the cancer stem cells in the tissue. The aim of the medical professionals is now to find methods that can determine the tumor biology prior to radiation treatment and can ascertain the concentration of the cancer stem cells. The radiation dosage is then adjusted accordingly. Oncologists are also able to determine further aspects of the tumor biology: Areas of the tumor that receive a lower supply of oxygen tolerate the radiation better. Being able to take low-oxygen areas into account when determining the radiation dosage would also be able to improve the success of treatment. The situation with another individual biomarker is somewhat different. Human papilloma virus (HPV), which is responsible for the development of cervical cancer and some cancers of the head and neck, also results in cancer cells are being sensitive to radiation. Tumors caused by the virus can be treated particularly well with radiotherapy. Tumor biology should be given greater consideration in radiotherapy in future, and therefore improve the tailored and personalized treatment of each individual patient.

The Radiotherapy Patient System ensures increased safety in radiotherapy. If you would like to know more about it, write us an email to info@gkteso.de.