Prague Proton Therapy Center Study Shows Proton Therapy Greatly Reduces the Risk of Side Effects Compared with Conventional Radiotherapy

Patients who undergo conventional radiotherapy treatment are exposed to a far greater amount of unnecessary radiation to healthy tissue, in comparison to patients undergoing proton therapy treatment. As a more targeted treatment modality, proton therapy spares a greater quantity of healthy tissue. Treatment plans using proton radiotherapy reduce radiation exposure by 50% compared to conventional radiotherapy treatment.

The Prague Proton Therapy Center Medical Team published their treatment plan comparison findings for patients with advanced prostate carcinoma in the December 2019 edition of Radiation Protection Dosimetry, entitled ‘Low dose bath from IMPT vs IMXT for the pelvic area when treating advanced prostate cancer‘. This study compared treatment plans for patients undergoing Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) with patients undergoing conventional Intensity Modulated X-Ray Therapy (IMXT) for advanced prostate cancer.

Existing studies have already shown that cancer patients receiving proton therapy experience a significantly lower risk of unnecessary side-effects from radiation therapy in comparison to patients receiving traditional photon radiation. Cure rates remain however essentially identical between the two groups.

The results of this study confirm these existing findings, demonstrating the clear superiority of proton therapy over conventional x-ray (photon) radiotherapy. Proton therapy treatment was shown to halve the amount of dangerous radiation exposure to the abdominal cavity and rectum (50% less radiation to healthy tissue). This thereby reduces the risk of side-effects and offers patients a greater chance at maintaining a higher quality of life during and after their cancer treatment.

Proton therapy was also shown to use a significantly lower number of treatment fields for the same target dose coverage, when compared to conventional photon (x-ray) treatment techniques. The authors state that proton therapy treatment ‘irradiates just half of the tissue volume with a low dose compared to conventional x-ray treatments without compromise in target volume coverage’. In this way the risk of secondary cancer development and other possible complications is also greatly reduced.

Optimum proton dose distributions can be achieved with intensity modulated proton therapy. Currently, proton therapy is undergoing transitions that will move it into the mainstream of cancer treatment. For example, proton therapy is now reimbursed, there has been rapid development in proton therapy technology, and many new options are available for equipment, facility configuration, and financing.

Proton therapy might be an appropriate treatment option for you or a loved one that is suffering from cancer. Please contact us if you would like to find out more.

Associated Resources:

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B. Glimelius et al., “ Number of patients potentially eligible for proton therapy,” Acta Oncol. 10.1080/02841860500361049 44, 836– 849 (2005)

R. Flynn, D. Barbee, T. Mackie, and R. Jeraj, “ Comparison of intensity modulated x‐ray therapy and intensity modulated proton therapy for selective subvolume boosting: A phantom study,” Phys. Med. Biol. 10.1088/0031‐9155/52/20/001 52, 6073– 6091 (2007)

L. Haisen, H. Romeijn, H. Fox, J. Palta, and J. Dempsey, “ A computational implementation and comparison of several intensity modulated proton therapy treatment planning algorithms,” Med. Phys. 10.1118/1.2836954 35, 1103– 1112 (2008)

A. J. Lomax et al., “ A treatment planning inter‐comparison of protons and intensity‐modulated photon therapy,” Radiother. Oncol. 10.1016/S0167‐8140(99)00036‐5 51, 257– 271 (1999)