Lung metastases are cancerous tumors that have spread from the original (primary) tumor to the lung. Breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, kidney cancer, malignant melanoma, esophageal cancer, head and neck cancers, and testicular cancer can all metastasize in the lungs. If these cancers continue to grow, the lung function is compromised, which can lead to serious problems.
Lung metastases are most commonly treated with chemotherapy and for a certain amount of time, this method is effective. Unfortunately, resistance invariably develops resulting in ultimate progression of the size of the tumors. Occasionally, if a patient has a single lung metastasis and no disease elsewhere, the tumor can be taken out surgically.
Stereotactic body radiosurgery can effectively treat lung metastasis. The procedure requires a gold marker (fiducial seed) to be placed into each lung metastasis one to seven days prior to the treatment. The marker is placed using a very thin catheter. Not every patient requires the marker. The patient will undergo a CT scan, after which the radiation oncologist, the physician and the dosimetrist develop a treatment plan. Treatment requires three consecutive days, and the patient may return home between treatments.
An ideal candidate for lung tumor radiosurgery is a patient with 1-3 (five if all small) tumors in the lung with no other cancer or very few other cancerous sites elsewhere in the body.