Skip Navigation

Real-time Precision: LINAC vs. CyberKnife

We would like to provide you with the latest information about the technology and expertise that the University of Michigan has to offer patients who have cancer treated with stereotactic radiation therapy. We are extremely proud of our oncology services and want to be sure to answer your questions about the different technologies currently being promoted in the media.

LINAC: Better Plans and Finer Adjustments

At the University of Michigan, we have more than 10 years of experience with focused high-dose radiation treatments and have treated hundreds of patients safely and effectively. In addition, we have a highly active and productive research program and are at the forefront of novel therapy development. Our team uses an advanced linear accelerator (LINAC), for which we use customized software developed at Michigan. This software is an integral part of radiation treatment and permits us to develop better plans for therapy than those produced by standard commercial technology. In our efforts to continually improve treatment options for patients, we are doing cutting-edge research on tumor imaging that permits us to focus the radiation to the precise spot it needs to go.

In 2005, we evaluated another technology for treating tumors called CyberKnife, and we felt it was inferior to the LINAC we ultimately purchased. In the past, we have also considered the Gamma Knife, another form of stereotactic radiation therapy. All three devices are capable of treating a small tumor or other lesion with a high dose of radiation. However, the LINAC can make a CT scan of the patient prior to treatment, which permits us to make finer adjustments than the CyberKnife. In addition, our current technology allows the radiation to be focused as finely as either the CyberKnife or the Gamma Knife. For this and other technical reasons, we chose the LINAC.

How to Choose?

We have been asked how a patient should choose between providers with different technologies. Our answer is always the same: You should choose based on the knowledge, experience and skill of the team of physicians, not on the basis of a particular machine or technology.

Theodore S. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., FASTRO
Karin Muraszko, M.D., FACS
Isadore Lampe Professor and Chair
Julian T. Hoff Professor and Chair
Department of Radiation Oncology
Department of Neurosurgery

August 2007

Back to top