New Study Shows Hypofractionated Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer Is as Effective As Standard Proton Treatment


Hypofractionated proton therapy for prostate cancer means treating prostate cancer with higher doses of proton therapy over a shorter amount of time.

According to a new study, hypofractionated proton therapy for prostate cancer is as equally effective as standard treatment. The findings were published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Roberts Proton Center looked at data on prostate cancer patients treated with 28 doses of proton therapy instead of 44, and found that the rates of cancer control at four years was the same in both groups, with notably low rates of urologic and gastrointestinal effects from the treatment at four-year follow up.

Photon radiation typically uses multiple x-ray beams to attack a tumor target but unfortunately deposits radiation in the normal healthy tissues beyond the target, potentially damaging those tissues as the beam exits the body.

Proton therapy is an FDA-approved treatment that is an alternative radiation treatment. It directs positively charged protons at the tumor target, where they deposit the bulk of the radiation dose, with minimal residual radiation delivered beyond the target, potentially reducing side effects and damage to surrounding tissue.

Richard’s Prostate Cancer Story

The study looked at data on 184 men who received hypofractionated proton therapy for prostate cancer that was non-metastatic (had not yet spread to other parts of the body). At a follow up of 49 months, 96% of the men were still alive, and with no deaths related to treatment.

The four-year rate of gastrointestinal complications was estimated at 13.6%, almost all of which occurred in the first two years. The cumulative four-year rate of urologic issues was 7.6%. All of these issues resolved within six months of completing treatment.

“This study provides prospective evidence that the higher daily radiation dose delivered in hypofractionated proton therapy does not negatively impact patient quality of life,” stated author Neha Vapiwala, associate professor of Radiation Oncology. “This data can help guide clinicians and patients as they weigh treatment efficacy, tolerability and convenience.”

The authors stated that more research is required to evaluate the differences between hypofractionated radiation with photon and proton radiation.



Grewal, A.S. et al. (2019) Four-year outcomes from a prospective phase II clinical trial of moderately hypofractionated proton therapy for localized prostate cancer. International Journal of Radiation Oncology.

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