Early in the 20th century, doctors find that use of radiation therapy can cure some patients with Hodgkin lymphoma, one of two major classes of lymphomas.
Five years after Marie Curie's discovery of radium, doctors report the first successful of use of this radioactive element to treat cancer, in two Russian patients with skin cancer.
Investigators report the first use of the radioactive isotope Yttrium 90 (Y90) for the treatment of inoperable liver cancer, for which previously there were no treatment options.
Adding the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil to standard radiation is shown to boost one-year survival from 10 percent to 40 percent for patients with locally advanced inoperable pancreatic cancer
doctors begin using a non-invasive technique known as Gamma Knife to treat certain brain tumors. It uses precisely focused radiation waves to disrupt cancer cell function and replication, while leaving the brain tissue surrounding the tumor largely untouched.
Thanks to the integration of powerful computers into medicine, doctors are able to dramatically improve radiation therapy by creating 3-D treatment plans. These plans require highly complex calculations and vastly more computing power than earlier, two-dimensional treatment plans.
The introduction of combination therapy - using both radiation and cisplatin chemotherapy together – offers an important new treatment alternative for patients with advanced bladder cancer who are older or otherwise unable to undergo bladder surgery.
In 2001, a major trial shows that giving patients chemotherapy and radiation after surgery – an approach known as adjuvant therapy – significantly improves survival.
Results from a large clinical study show that giving chemotherapy and radiation therapy before, rather than after, rectal cancer surgery reduces the risk of local recurrence (cancer recurrence in the pelvis, near the original tumor).
Studies find that men with localized prostate cancer who receive radiation treatment at a higher dose than was traditionally provided are less likely to have their cancer recur than men who receive conventional radiation.
Two studies find that patients with oligodendroglioma tumors (a form of glioma) that lack certain parts of chromosomes 1 and 19 are more sensitive to treatment and have better survival than patients whose tumors are not missing this genetic material.