Stereotactic radiosurgery has applied high precision radiation treatment to the brain; stereotactic body radiation therapy takes advantage of the precision of image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to deliver larger radiation doses safely outside the central nervous system.
As a result, extracranial SBRT can range from one to several treatments, but much less than more standard courses of radiation therapy.
SBRT is a potential curative treatment option in early stage lung cancer, particularly if surgery may not be possible. It may have emerging roles for liver cancer, pancreas cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and paraspinal tumors. When cure isn't possible, in selected circumstances SBRT may help relieve symptoms or allow retreatment with radiation.
Because most experience with radiation therapy are using smaller daily doses of radiation therapy, the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy requires careful consideration to account for differences in radiobiology and normal tissue effects. Despite the appeal of this newer approach to treatment, SBRT currently cannot replace more standard treatment approaches for most tumors.