Translational and basic science opportunities in palliative care and radiation oncology

Mai Anh Huynh, Alexander Spektor


Radiation therapy is commonly used in the metastatic setting to palliate pain, neurological deficits, bleeding and other complications of metastatic disease, allowing patients to live longer and have better quality of life. Despite the effective use of radiation and other palliative treatment modalities, many patients continue to experience poorly controlled pain and other serious sequelae of their disease, underscoring the need for additional research in this area. In this review we highlight recent developments impacting the fields of palliative care and radiation oncology and describe opportunities for research and innovation including studies of tumor microenvironment, identification of effective biomarkers of tumor response and combinatorial treatments with new systemic agents. It is our hope that progress in these fields will improve the lives of patients living with advanced malignancies.