The SABR-Comet Study Shows Promise with High-Precision Radiation & Eradication of Tumors

Jul 22, 2019 | Oncology, Precision Radiation Therapy, Tumors


The SABR-Comet study demonstrate that cancer tumors can be eradicated after the patient is given a new type of high precision radiation.  This method is used to target small tumors in patients with relapsed cancer. The approach appears to evidence and extension of survival and a delay of disease progression.

Albert Anderson, 83 a patient from Dunure in Ayrshire, Scotland battled a lesion in the windpipe caused by cancer for several years. A few years later he developed two small tumors in his lung reported the Evening News in the UK.  Mr. Anderson was quoted: Thanks to the trial, my cancer has been completely eradicated. My treatment has been excellence, just excellent.”

A powerful result that caught the attention of the TrialSite News aggregation engine.


Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) is a new radiation treatment that delivers high-dose, precise radiation to small tumors in 1-3 weeks of treatment. This new technique can potentially allow radiation treatments to be focused more precisely, and delivered more accurately than with older treatments. This improvement could help by reducing side effects and by improving the chance of controlling the cancer by more precisely treating the cancer. The purpose of this study is to compare SABR with current approaches of chemotherapy and conventional radiotherapy to assess the impact on overall survival and quality of life.

The Study

Between 2012 and 2016 99 adults were enrolled by 10 research centers in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.  The participants has previously responded to cancer treatment with a relapse and associated metastatic lesions. A minimum life expetency was six months.


SABR was associated with an improvement in overall survival, meeting the primary endpoint of this trial, but three (4·5%) of 66 patients in the SABR group had treatment-related death. Phase 3 trials are needed to conclusively show an overall survival benefit, and to determine the maximum number of metastatic lesions wherein SABR provides a benefit.

Clinical Investigator Comment

Dr. Stephen Harrow, a clinical investigator at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre noted “Traditionally when a cancer has spread to other organs other than the original site of the disease patients were considered incurable.”

Research Sites

This study included the following sites:


Alfred Health, William Burkland Radiotherapy Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC; Atlantic Clinical Cancer Research, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Juravinski Cancer Centre, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario; London Regional Cancer Program of the Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario; Ottawa Cancer Center, Ottawa, Ontario; PEI Cancer Treatment Center, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, Montreal, Quebec


VU University, Amsterdam

United Kingdom

The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow, UK

Principal Investigator

David Palma, MD, PhD, London Regional Cancer Program of the Lawson Health Research Institute

Suresh Senan, PhD, VU University Medical Center


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