News | Proton Therapy | November 06, 2018

Children receiving proton therapy scored higher in IQ, processing speed and practical function than pediatric patients receiving X-ray radiation

Proton Therapy for Pediatric Brain Tumors Has Favorable Cognitive Outcomes

November 6, 2018 – Proton therapy treatment for pediatric brain tumor patients is associated with better neurocognitive outcomes compared to X-ray radiation therapy according to a new study. The study was presented at the recent American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting, Oct. 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas, and the International Society of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting, June 29-July 3 in Denver.

In a retrospective study, Northwestern Medicine researchers compared the outcomes of 125 pediatric patients who received treatment for brain tumors. After accounting for other factors on a multivariable analysis, proton therapy was associated with higher performance in terms of full-scale IQ (10.6 points higher), processing speed (12.6 points higher) and parent-reported practical function (13.8 points higher) relative to X-ray radiation. Other significant factors included patient age, receipt of craniospinal irradiation and the presence of hydrocephalus.

“A child’s brain is more sensitive to radiation. The radiation can disrupt connections being formed in the white matter and prevent the brain from developing normally,” said lead author Jeffrey Paul Gross, M.D., MS, Northwestern University radiation oncology resident.  “If we are able to spare healthy portions of the brain from radiation there is a potential for improved long-term cognitive outcomes.”

Proton therapy uses protons – heavy, positively charged atomic particles – instead of the standard X-rays used in conventional radiation therapy. Protons deposit much of their energy, or dose, directly in the tumor and then stop, whereas conventional radiation continues to deposit the dose beyond the tumor.

“Based on radiation dose profiles, we have always anticipated that children with brain tumors would derive cognitive benefits of proton therapy relative to conventional X-ray therapy,” commented senior author Vinai Gondi, M.D., director of research and education at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center. “This study provides our first and most compelling clinical evidence of the importance of using proton therapy to spare as much normal brain tissue as possible.”

Study participants received age-appropriate neuropsychological assessment of IQ, processing speed, visual motor integration, executive function, memory and parent-reported function. The median age of diagnosis was seven years and the median time from treatment to last assessment was four years. The authors note, patients receiving proton therapy had shorter median time from treatment conclusion to last neuropsychological assessment. However, when applying statistical approaches to account for these differences, the cognitive benefits of proton therapy were still observed.

Read more about late-breaking clinical trials at ASTRO 2018.

For more information: www.astro.org

Related Content

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

November 29, 2021 — The largest multi-institutional international study to date on brain complications of COVID-19 has ...

Time November 29, 2021
arrow
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

November 24, 2021 — Significant decreases in CT imaging for cancer persisted even after the peak of the COVID-19 ...

Time November 24, 2021
arrow
Videos | Radiation Therapy

Jeffrey T. Chapman, a medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Explains how watching ...

Time November 24, 2021
arrow
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

November 23, 2021 — Researchers at Yale University analyzing specialized MRI exams found significant changes in the ...

Time November 23, 2021
arrow
News | Interventional Radiology

November 23, 2021 — A minimally invasive ablation procedure offers long-term relief for patients who experience chronic ...

Time November 23, 2021
arrow
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

November 22, 2021 — Adolescents and young adults with post-concussive symptoms who suffered three to five concussions ...

Time November 22, 2021
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

November 18, 2021 — VIDA Diagnostics Inc. (VIDA) is further removing friction in respiratory clinical trials with the ...

Time November 18, 2021
arrow
Videos | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers

Ana Kiess, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology and molecular radiation sciences, Johns Hopkins ...

Time November 17, 2021
arrow
Videos | Radiation Therapy

The Elekta Harmony radiotherapy system gained FDA clearance in the summer of 2021 and was on display for the first time ...

Time November 17, 2021
arrow
News | Radiation Therapy

November 17, 2021 — Radiation can be a powerful cancer therapy, but it doesn’t work for everyone. A new study identifies ...

Time November 17, 2021
arrow
Subscribe Now