Education, Lung Cancer, Proton Beam Therapy, Radiotherapy

Stereotactic radiotherapy (SABR) for lung cancer

Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) is a cutting-edge treatment for lung cancer that delivers highly precise radiation therapy to tumours in the lungs. Unlike traditional radiation therapy, which may require numerous sessions, SABR delivers a concentrated dose of radiation in just a few sessions, often as few as one to five.

During SABR, advanced imaging techniques are used to precisely locate the tumour in the lung. The radiation beams are then carefully directed at the tumour from multiple angles, ensuring that the cancer cells receive a high dose of radiation while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

SABR is an excellent option for patients with early-stage lung cancer who may not be candidates for surgery due to other medical issues. It offers a non-invasive alternative that can effectively destroy cancer cells while preserving lung function.

Overall, SABR is a targeted and efficient treatment option for lung cancer, offering patients hope for better outcomes with minimal impact on their daily lives.

How is SABR for lung cancer given?

SABR for lung cancer is typically administered using cutting-edge treatment machines like linear accelerators (Linacs) or CyberKnife systems. These advanced devices offer precise targeting capabilities, minimising radiation exposure to healthy tissues while effectively treating the tumour. LINACs, widely used for SABR, employ high-energy X-ray beams shaped to match the tumour’s contours from various angles. The CyberKnife systems utilise robotic technology to deliver radiation beams with exceptional accuracy from multiple directions. Both LINACs and CyberKnife systems can deliver the high radiation doses necessary for SABR while prioritising patient safety and comfort.

CyberKnife and Linacs can be used for SABR

How are central lung tumours different?

Central lung tumours pose unique challenges due to their proximity to critical structures like the trachea and main bronchi. However, recent advancements in radiotherapy techniques have paved the way for more precise and targeted treatments, minimising, but not eliminating, the risk of collateral damage to healthy tissue.


As the landscape of cancer care continues to evolve, SABR remains a cornerstone of modern oncology, offering new hope and possibilities for patients facing lung cancer treatment.

Any questions?

Call me on 020 7993 6716 or email Carol to set up on appointment at

Essential reading:

Tekatli H, Giraud N, van Eekelen R, Lagerwaard FJ, Senan S. Ten years outcomes after SABR in central and ultracentral primary lung tumors. Radiotherapy and Oncology. 2023;188:109848.


About James Wilson

Dr James Wilson is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at University College London Hospital and is an Honorary Associate Professor at UCL. He is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.