News | September 24, 2008

Proton Therapy Lowers Chance of Later Cancers

September 25, 2008 – Proton therapy (a specialized type of external beam radiation therapy using protons rather than X-rays to treat cancer) decreases the risk of patients developing a secondary cancer by two-fold, compared to being treated with standard photon radiation treatment, according to a first-of-its-kind study presented Sept. 22, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

This study contradicts recent theories that have suggested that proton radiation might actually increase — instead of decrease — the incidence of secondary cancers because of what is called scatter radiation. When proton radiation is delivered, neutrons are produced by nuclear interactions and are therefore scattered as a result.

“This study could have a substantial impact on the care of patients,” Nancy Tarbell, M.D., senior author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said. “Since cancer patients are surviving for longer periods of time, side effects of therapy are becoming increasingly important for doctors to consider when developing treatment plans. Since this is a retrospective study, however, we will need additional studies to further prove this hypothesis.”

This study contradicts recent theories that have suggested that proton radiation might actually increase - instead of decrease - the incidence of secondary cancers because of what is called scatter radiation. When proton radiation is delivered, neutrons are produced by nuclear interactions and are therefore scattered as a result.

Photon radiation is the standard external beam radiation therapy treatment, while proton radiation is a more targeted form of external beam radiation, which delivers less radiation to bordering normal structures. During external beam radiation therapy, a beam of radiation is directed through the skin to the cancer and the immediate surrounding area in order to destroy the main tumor and any nearby cancer cells. The retrospective cohort study matched 503 patients who underwent Harvard Cyclotron proton radiation treatment with 1,591 patients treated with photon radiation therapy from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry from 1974 to 2001. According to the study, 6.4 percent of patients who underwent proton therapy developed a secondary cancer while 12.8 percent of patients who had photon treatment developed another type of cancer.

For more information: www.rtanswers.org and www.astro.org

Related Content

New Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Technique Aims to Preserve Sexual Function
News | Radiation Therapy | June 18, 2018
A multicenter clinical trial being led by UT Southwestern physicians is testing a technique for sparing nerve bundles...
Elekta Unity High-Field MR-Linac Receives CE Mark
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 18, 2018
Elekta announced that its Elekta Unity magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system has received CE mark,...
Washington University in St. Louis Begins Clinical Treatments With ViewRay MRIdian Linac
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 14, 2018
June 14, 2018 — The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in S
Accuray TomoTherapy System Beneficial in Two Total Body Irradiation Studies
News | Radiation Therapy | June 13, 2018
Recently published data from two new studies demonstrate the benefits of Accuray’s TomoTherapy System in the delivery...
IsoRay Funding Brain Cancer Treatment Research With Ochsner Clinic Foundation
News | Brachytherapy Systems | June 12, 2018
IsoRay Inc. announced the initiation of research funding for brain cancer treatment to Ochsner Clinic Foundation, a not...
News | Brachytherapy Systems | June 07, 2018
IsoRay Inc. announced the upcoming release of its Build-Blu delivery system for real-time prostate brachytherapy.
Raysearch RayStation
Feature | Radiation Therapy | June 05, 2018 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Treatment planning systems are at the heart of r...
Beaumont Researchers Invent New Mode of Proton Treatment for Lung Cancer
News | Proton Therapy | May 31, 2018
Members of Beaumont Health’s proton therapy team presented research on a new treatment for patients with lung cancer at...
More Than 60 Percent of Patients Seeking Proton Therapy Initially Denied Coverage
News | Proton Therapy | May 25, 2018
The Alliance for Proton Therapy Access has released a national report revealing the heavy emotional and financial...
News | Treatment Planning | May 24, 2018
Daniela Schmitt, Ph.D., took top honors in the overall category of the 2018 TROG Plan Study: Stereotactic Radiosurgery...
Overlay Init