Special Issue "Proton Therapy for Cancer"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Xiaodong Zhang

Department of Radiation Physics - Pt Care, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Proton Therapy Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Unit 1150, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: proton therapy; optimization algorithm for radiation therapy; data mining and engineering in radiation therapy; high performance computing in medicine

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, proton therapy has become one of the major themes in the radiation therapy field. The majority of academic centers, and even community centers, in the US have built or have plans to build proton centers to gain competitive advantages. However, the majority of clinical outcome data have not demonstrated the obvious advantage of proton therapy compared to the data of IMRT. The majority of clinical data comparing proton and photon therapy have been based on passive scattering proton therapy (PSPT). However, the technology of particle generation, while predominantly in the form of PSPT is likely to be superseded by intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT). Improvement in dose distribution by IMPT in a representative series of patients compared to the best conventional photon radiotherapy has been reported. It appears that IMPT will have the opportunity to justify adopting proton therapy in the routine care for the majority of diseases. In this special issue, we especially welcome submission from following categories: 1) summarizing the clinical outcome data comparing proton with IMRT; 2) disease site specific clinical and technology workflow which can be potentially adopted as the standard clinical workflow for both PSPT and IMPT technology by proton community; 3) novel research work such as applying high performance computing, machine learning or the advanced optimization algorithm into proton therapy to improve the clinical efficiency and effectiveness of proton therapy; 4) novel statistical modeling methods to extract the clinical knowledge and experience of the existing clinical and technological data; 5) and health economic research to model the most cost effective utilization of proton therapy.

Dr. Xiaodong Zhang
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • proton therapy
  • impt
  • bragg peak
  • clinical outcome
  • statistical modeling
  • clinical workflow
  • standard of care
  • cost effective
  • high performance computing
  • big data
  • image guidance

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Dosimetric Characteristics of a Two-Dimensional Diode Array Detector Irradiated with Passively Scattered Proton Beams
Cancers 2015, 7(3), 1425-1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7030844
Received: 22 March 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 24 July 2015 / Published: 30 July 2015
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Abstract
Purpose: To evaluate the dosimetric characteristics of a two-dimensional (2D) diode array detector irradiated with passively scattered proton beams. Materials and Methods: A diode array detector, MapCHECK (Model 1175, Sun Nuclear, Melbourne, FL, USA) was characterized in passive-scattered proton beams. The [...] Read more.
Purpose: To evaluate the dosimetric characteristics of a two-dimensional (2D) diode array detector irradiated with passively scattered proton beams. Materials and Methods: A diode array detector, MapCHECK (Model 1175, Sun Nuclear, Melbourne, FL, USA) was characterized in passive-scattered proton beams. The relative sensitivity of the diodes and absolute dose calibration were determined using a 250 MeV beam. The pristine Bragg curves (PBCs) measured by MapCHECK diodes were compared with those of an ion chamber using a range shift method. The water-equivalent thickness (WET) of the diode array detector’s intrinsic buildup also was determined. The inverse square dependence, linearity, and other proton dosimetric quantities measured by MapCHECK were also compared with those of the ion chambers. The change in the absolute dose response of the MapCHECK as a function of accumulated radiation dose was used as an indicator of radiation damage to the diodes. 2D dose distribution with and without the compensator were measured and compared with the treatment planning system (TPS) calculations. Results: The WET of the MapCHECK diode’s buildup was determined to be 1.7 cm. The MapCHECK-measured PBC were virtually identical to those measured by a parallel-plate ion chamber for 160, 180, and 250 MeV proton beams. The inverse square results of the MapCHECK were within ±0.4% of the ion chamber results. The linearity of MapCHECK results was within 1% of those from the ion chamber as measured in the range between 10 and 300 MU. All other dosimetric quantities were within 1.3% of the ion chamber results. The 2D dose distributions for non-clinical fields without compensator and the patient treatment fields with the compensator were consistent with the TPS results. The absolute dose response of the MapCHECK was changed by 7.4% after an accumulated dose increased by 170 Gy. Conclusions: The MapCHECK is a convenient and useful tool for 2D dose distribution measurements using passively scattered proton beams. Variations in MapCHECK’s dose response with increasing levels of total accumulated radiation dose should be carefully monitored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle An Analytical Model of Leakage Neutron Equivalent Dose for Passively-Scattered Proton Radiotherapy and Validation with Measurements
Cancers 2015, 7(2), 795-810; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7020795
Received: 12 March 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
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Abstract
Exposure to stray neutrons increases the risk of second cancer development after proton therapy. Previously reported analytical models of this exposure were difficult to configure and had not been investigated below 100 MeV proton energy. The purposes of this study were to test [...] Read more.
Exposure to stray neutrons increases the risk of second cancer development after proton therapy. Previously reported analytical models of this exposure were difficult to configure and had not been investigated below 100 MeV proton energy. The purposes of this study were to test an analytical model of neutron equivalent dose per therapeutic absorbed dose at 75 MeV and to improve the model by reducing the number of configuration parameters and making it continuous in proton energy from 100 to 250 MeV. To develop the analytical model, we used previously published H/D values in water from Monte Carlo simulations of a general-purpose beamline for proton energies from 100 to 250 MeV. We also configured and tested the model on in-air neutron equivalent doses measured for a 75 MeV ocular beamline. Predicted H/D values from the analytical model and Monte Carlo agreed well from 100 to 250 MeV (10% average difference). Predicted H/D values from the analytical model also agreed well with measurements at 75 MeV (15% average difference). The results indicate that analytical models can give fast, reliable calculations of neutron exposure after proton therapy. This ability is absent in treatment planning systems but vital to second cancer risk estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Reducing the Cost of Proton Radiation Therapy: The Feasibility of a Streamlined Treatment Technique for Prostate Cancer
Cancers 2015, 7(2), 688-705; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7020688
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 3 April 2015 / Accepted: 15 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
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Abstract
Proton radiation therapy is an effective modality for cancer treatments, but the cost of proton therapy is much higher compared to conventional radiotherapy and this presents a formidable barrier to most clinical practices that wish to offer proton therapy. Little attention in literature [...] Read more.
Proton radiation therapy is an effective modality for cancer treatments, but the cost of proton therapy is much higher compared to conventional radiotherapy and this presents a formidable barrier to most clinical practices that wish to offer proton therapy. Little attention in literature has been paid to the costs associated with collimators, range compensators and hypofractionation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of cost-saving modifications to the present standard of care for proton treatments for prostate cancer. In particular, we quantified the dosimetric impact of a treatment technique in which custom fabricated collimators were replaced with a multileaf collimator (MLC) and the custom range compensators (RC) were eliminated. The dosimetric impacts of these modifications were assessed for 10 patients with a commercial treatment planning system (TPS) and confirmed with corresponding Monte Carlo simulations. We assessed the impact on lifetime risks of radiogenic second cancers using detailed dose reconstructions and predictive dose-risk models based on epidemiologic data. We also performed illustrative calculations, using an isoeffect model, to examine the potential for hypofractionation. Specifically, we bracketed plausible intervals of proton fraction size and total treatment dose that were equivalent to a conventional photon treatment of 79.2 Gy in 44 fractions. Our results revealed that eliminating the RC and using an MLC had negligible effect on predicted dose distributions and second cancer risks. Even modest hypofractionation strategies can yield substantial cost savings. Together, our results suggest that it is feasible to modify the standard of care to increase treatment efficiency, reduce treatment costs to patients and insurers, while preserving high treatment quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Predictive Risk of Radiation Induced Cerebral Necrosis in Pediatric Brain Cancer Patients after VMAT Versus Proton Therapy
Cancers 2015, 7(2), 617-630; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7020617
Received: 1 January 2015 / Revised: 16 March 2015 / Accepted: 25 March 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
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Abstract
Cancer of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) is the second most common of all pediatric cancers. Treatment of many of these cancers includes radiation therapy of which radiation induced cerebral necrosis (RICN) can be a severe and potentially devastating side effect. [...] Read more.
Cancer of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) is the second most common of all pediatric cancers. Treatment of many of these cancers includes radiation therapy of which radiation induced cerebral necrosis (RICN) can be a severe and potentially devastating side effect. Risk factors for RICN include brain volume irradiated, the dose given per fraction and total dose. Thirteen pediatric patients were selected for this study to determine the difference in predicted risk of RICN when treating with volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) compared to passively scattered proton therapy (PSPT) and intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT). Plans were compared on the basis of dosimetric endpoints in the planned treatment volume (PTV) and brain and a radiobiological endpoint of RICN calculated using the Lyman-Kutcher-Burman probit model. Uncertainty tests were performed to determine if the predicted risk of necrosis was sensitive to positional errors, proton range errors and selection of risk models. Both PSPT and IMPT plans resulted in a significant increase in the maximum dose to the brain, a significant reduction in the total brain volume irradiated to low doses, and a significant lower predicted risk of necrosis compared with the VMAT plans. The findings of this study were upheld by the uncertainty analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessCommunication Improved Beam Angle Arrangement in Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy Treatment Planning for Localized Prostate Cancer
Cancers 2015, 7(2), 574-584; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7020574
Received: 18 January 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2015 / Accepted: 23 March 2015 / Published: 30 March 2015
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Abstract
Purpose: This study investigates potential gains of an improved beam angle arrangement compared to a conventional fixed gantry setup in intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) treatment for localized prostate cancer patients based on a proof of principle study. Materials and Methods: [...] Read more.
Purpose: This study investigates potential gains of an improved beam angle arrangement compared to a conventional fixed gantry setup in intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) treatment for localized prostate cancer patients based on a proof of principle study. Materials and Methods: Three patients with localized prostate cancer retrospectively selected from our institution were studied. For each patient, IMPT plans were designed using two, three and four beam angles, respectively, obtained from a beam angle optimization algorithm. Those plans were then compared with ones using two lateral parallel-opposed beams according to the conventional planning protocol for localized prostate cancer adopted at our institution. Results: IMPT plans with two optimized angles achieved significant improvements in rectum sparing and moderate improvements in bladder sparing against those with two lateral angles. Plans with three optimized angles further improved rectum sparing significantly over those two-angle plans, whereas four-angle plans found no advantage over three-angle plans. A possible three-beam class solution for localized prostate patients was suggested and demonstrated with preserved dosimetric benefits because individually optimized three-angle solutions were found sharing a very similar pattern. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated the potential of using an improved beam angle arrangement to better exploit the theoretical dosimetric benefits of proton therapy and provided insights of selecting quality beam angles for localized prostate cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Alpha Particle and Proton Beam Irradiation as Putative Cross-Talk between A549 Cancer Cells and the Endothelial Cells in a Co-Culture System
Cancers 2015, 7(1), 481-502; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7010481
Received: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 18 March 2015
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Abstract
Background: High-LET ion irradiation is being more and more often used to control tumors in patients. Given that tumors are now considered as complex organs composed of multiple cell types that can influence radiosensitivity, we investigated the effects of proton and alpha [...] Read more.
Background: High-LET ion irradiation is being more and more often used to control tumors in patients. Given that tumors are now considered as complex organs composed of multiple cell types that can influence radiosensitivity, we investigated the effects of proton and alpha particle irradiation on the possible radioprotective cross-talk between cancer and endothelial cells. Materials and Methods: We designed new irradiation chambers that allow co-culture study of cells irradiated with a particle beam. A549 lung carcinoma cells and endothelial cells (EC) were exposed to 1.5 Gy of proton beam or 1 and 2 Gy of alpha particles. Cell responses were studied by clonogenic assays and cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry. Gene expression studies were performed using Taqman low density array and by RT-qPCR. Results: A549 cells and EC displayed similar survival fraction and they had similar cell cycle distribution when irradiated alone or in co-culture. Both types of irradiation induced the overexpression of genes involved in cell growth, inflammation and angiogenesis. Conclusions: We set up new irradiation chamber in which two cell types were irradiated together with a particle beam. We could not show that tumor cells and endothelial cells were able to protect each other from particle irradiation. Gene expression changes were observed after particle irradiation that could suggest a possible radioprotective inter-cellular communication between the two cell types but further investigations are needed to confirm these results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Towards Achieving the Full Clinical Potential of Proton Therapy by Inclusion of LET and RBE Models
Cancers 2015, 7(1), 460-480; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7010460
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 19 January 2015 / Accepted: 6 March 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (3241 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite increasing use of proton therapy (PBT), several systematic literature reviews show limited gains in clinical outcomes, with publications mostly devoted to recent technical developments. The lack of randomised control studies has also hampered progress in the acceptance of PBT by many [...] Read more.
Despite increasing use of proton therapy (PBT), several systematic literature reviews show limited gains in clinical outcomes, with publications mostly devoted to recent technical developments. The lack of randomised control studies has also hampered progress in the acceptance of PBT by many oncologists and policy makers. There remain two important uncertainties associated with PBT, namely: (1) accuracy and reproducibility of Bragg peak position (BPP); and (2) imprecise knowledge of the relative biological effect (RBE) for different tissues and tumours, and at different doses. Incorrect BPP will change dose, linear energy transfer (LET) and RBE, with risks of reduced tumour control and enhanced toxicity. These interrelationships are discussed qualitatively with respect to the ICRU target volume definitions. The internationally accepted proton RBE of 1.1 was based on assays and dose ranges unlikely to reveal the complete range of RBE in the human body. RBE values are not known for human (or animal) brain, spine, kidney, liver, intestine, etc. A simple efficiency model for estimating proton RBE values is described, based on data of Belli et al. and other authors, which allows linear increases in α and β with LET, with a gradient estimated using a saturation model from the low LET α and β radiosensitivity parameter input values, and decreasing RBE with increasing dose. To improve outcomes, 3-D dose-LET-RBE and bio-effectiveness maps are required. Validation experiments are indicated in relevant tissues. Randomised clinical studies that test the invariant 1.1 RBE allocation against higher values in late reacting tissues, and lower tumour RBE values in the case of radiosensitive tumours, are also indicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Implementation of an Analytical Model for Leakage Neutron Equivalent Dose in a Proton Radiotherapy Planning System
Cancers 2015, 7(1), 427-438; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7010427
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 12 February 2015 / Accepted: 2 March 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
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Abstract
Equivalent dose from neutrons produced during proton radiotherapy increases the predicted risk of radiogenic late effects. However, out-of-field neutron dose is not taken into account by commercial proton radiotherapy treatment planning systems. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of [...] Read more.
Equivalent dose from neutrons produced during proton radiotherapy increases the predicted risk of radiogenic late effects. However, out-of-field neutron dose is not taken into account by commercial proton radiotherapy treatment planning systems. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing an analytical model to calculate leakage neutron equivalent dose in a treatment planning system. Passive scattering proton treatment plans were created for a water phantom and for a patient. For both the phantom and patient, the neutron equivalent doses were small but non-negligible and extended far beyond the therapeutic field. The time required for neutron equivalent dose calculation was 1.6 times longer than that required for proton dose calculation, with a total calculation time of less than 1 h on one processor for both treatment plans. Our results demonstrate that it is feasible to predict neutron equivalent dose distributions using an analytical dose algorithm for individual patients with irregular surfaces and internal tissue heterogeneities. Eventually, personalized estimates of neutron equivalent dose to organs far from the treatment field may guide clinicians to create treatment plans that reduce the risk of late effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Inter-Institutional Comparison of Personalized Risk Assessments for Second Malignant Neoplasms for a 13-Year-Old Girl Receiving Proton versus Photon Craniospinal Irradiation
Cancers 2015, 7(1), 407-426; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7010407
Received: 31 December 2014 / Revised: 18 February 2015 / Accepted: 19 February 2015 / Published: 10 March 2015
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Abstract
Children receiving radiotherapy face the probability of a subsequent malignant neoplasm (SMN). In some cases, the predicted SMN risk can be reduced by proton therapy. The purpose of this study was to apply the most comprehensive dose assessment methods to estimate the reduction [...] Read more.
Children receiving radiotherapy face the probability of a subsequent malignant neoplasm (SMN). In some cases, the predicted SMN risk can be reduced by proton therapy. The purpose of this study was to apply the most comprehensive dose assessment methods to estimate the reduction in SMN risk after proton therapy vs. photon therapy for a 13-year-old girl requiring craniospinal irradiation (CSI). We reconstructed the equivalent dose throughout the patient’s body from therapeutic and stray radiation and applied SMN incidence and mortality risk models for each modality. Excluding skin cancer, the risk of incidence after proton CSI was a third of that of photon CSI. The predicted absolute SMN risks were high. For photon CSI, the SMN incidence rates greater than 10% were for thyroid, non-melanoma skin, lung, colon, stomach, and other solid cancers, and for proton CSI they were non-melanoma skin, lung, and other solid cancers. In each setting, lung cancer accounted for half the risk of mortality. In conclusion, the predicted SMN risk for a 13-year-old girl undergoing proton CSI was reduced vs. photon CSI. This study demonstrates the feasibility of inter-institutional whole-body dose and risk assessments and also serves as a model for including risk estimation in personalized cancer care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Proton and 3D Conformal Radiotherapy (3D-CRT) for Reducing Perioperative Cardiopulmonary Complications in Esophageal Cancer Patients
Cancers 2014, 6(4), 2356-2368; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers6042356
Received: 18 September 2014 / Revised: 20 November 2014 / Accepted: 1 December 2014 / Published: 5 December 2014
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Abstract
Background. While neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy has improved outcomes for esophageal cancer patients, surgical complication rates remain high. The most frequent perioperative complications after trimodality therapy were cardiopulmonary in nature. The radiation modality utilized can be a strong mitigating factor of perioperative complications [...] Read more.
Background. While neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy has improved outcomes for esophageal cancer patients, surgical complication rates remain high. The most frequent perioperative complications after trimodality therapy were cardiopulmonary in nature. The radiation modality utilized can be a strong mitigating factor of perioperative complications given the location of the esophagus and its proximity to the heart and lungs. The purpose of this study is to make a dosimetric comparison of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), proton and 3D conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) with regard to reducing perioperative cardiopulmonary complications in esophageal cancer patients. Materials. Ten patients with esophageal cancer treated between 2010 and 2013 were evaluated in this study. All patients were simulated with contrast-enhanced CT imaging. Separate treatment plans using proton radiotherapy, IMRT, and 3D-CRT modalities were created for each patient. Dose-volume histograms were calculated and analyzed to compare plans between the three modalities. The organs at risk (OAR) being evaluated in this study are the heart, lungs, and spinal cord. To determine statistical significance, ANOVA and two-tailed paired t-tests were performed for all data parameters. Results. The proton plans showed decreased dose to various volumes of the heart and lungs in comparison to both the IMRT and 3D-CRT plans. There was no difference between the IMRT and 3D-CRT plans in dose delivered to the lung or heart. This finding was seen consistently across the parameters analyzed in this study. Conclusions. In patients receiving radiation therapy for esophageal cancer, proton plans are technically feasible while achieving adequate coverage with lower doses delivered to the lungs and cardiac structures. This may result in decreased cardiopulmonary toxicity and less morbidity to esophageal cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Proton Beam Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Current Clinical Evidence and Future Directions
Cancers 2015, 7(3), 1178-1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7030831
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
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Abstract
Lung cancer is the leading cancer cause of death in the United States. Radiotherapy is an essential component of the definitive treatment of early-stage and locally-advanced lung cancer, and the palliative treatment of metastatic lung cancer. Proton beam therapy (PBT), through its characteristic [...] Read more.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer cause of death in the United States. Radiotherapy is an essential component of the definitive treatment of early-stage and locally-advanced lung cancer, and the palliative treatment of metastatic lung cancer. Proton beam therapy (PBT), through its characteristic Bragg peak, has the potential to decrease the toxicity of radiotherapy, and, subsequently improve the therapeutic ratio. Herein, we provide a primer on the physics of proton beam therapy for lung cancer, present the existing data in early-stage and locally-advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as well as in special situations such as re-irradiation and post-operative radiation therapy. We then present the technical challenges, such as anatomic changes and motion management, and future directions for PBT in lung cancer, including pencil beam scanning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Tumour Movement in Proton Therapy: Solutions and Remaining Questions: A Review
Cancers 2015, 7(3), 1143-1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7030829
Received: 1 February 2015 / Revised: 10 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
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Abstract
Movement of tumours, mostly by respiration, has been a major problem for treating lung cancer, liver tumours and other locations in the abdomen and thorax. Organ motion is indeed one component of geometrical uncertainties that includes delineation and target definition uncertainties, microscopic disease [...] Read more.
Movement of tumours, mostly by respiration, has been a major problem for treating lung cancer, liver tumours and other locations in the abdomen and thorax. Organ motion is indeed one component of geometrical uncertainties that includes delineation and target definition uncertainties, microscopic disease and setup errors. At present, minimising motion seems to be the easiest to implement in clinical practice. If combined with adaptive approaches to correct for gradual anatomical variations, it may be a practical strategy. Other approaches such as repainting and tracking could increase the accuracy of proton therapy delivery, but advanced 4D solutions are needed. Moreover, there is a need to perform clinical studies to investigate which approach is the best in a given clinical situation. The good news is that existing and emerging technology and treatment planning systems as will without doubt lead in the forthcoming future to practical solutions to tackle intra-fraction motion in proton therapy. These developments may also improve motion management in photon therapy as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
Open AccessReview Dosimetric Comparison and Potential for Improved Clinical Outcomes of Paediatric CNS Patients Treated with Protons or IMRT
Cancers 2015, 7(2), 706-722; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7020706
Received: 2 January 2015 / Revised: 16 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
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Abstract
Background: We compare clinical outcomes of paediatric patients with CNS tumours treated with protons or IMRT. CNS tumours form the second most common group of cancers in children. Radiotherapy plays a major role in the treatment of many of these patients but [...] Read more.
Background: We compare clinical outcomes of paediatric patients with CNS tumours treated with protons or IMRT. CNS tumours form the second most common group of cancers in children. Radiotherapy plays a major role in the treatment of many of these patients but also contributes to late side effects in long term survivors. Radiation dose inevitably deposited in healthy tissues outside the clinical target has been linked to detrimental late effects such as neurocognitive, behavioural and vascular effects in addition to endocrine abnormalities and second tumours. Methods: A literature search was performed using keywords: protons, IMRT, CNS and paediatric. Of 189 papers retrieved, 10 were deemed relevant based on title and abstract screening. All papers directly compared outcomes from protons with photons, five papers included medulloblastoma, four papers each included craniopharyngioma and low grade gliomas and three papers included ependymoma. Results: This review found that while proton beam therapy offered similar clinical target coverage, there was a demonstrable reduction in integral dose to normal structures. Conclusions: This in turn suggests the potential for superior long term outcomes for paediatric patients with CNS tumours both in terms of radiogenic second cancers and out-of-field adverse effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
Open AccessReview Towards Effective and Efficient Patient-Specific Quality Assurance for Spot Scanning Proton Therapy
Cancers 2015, 7(2), 631-647; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7020631
Received: 3 February 2015 / Revised: 21 March 2015 / Accepted: 25 March 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
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Abstract
An intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) patient-specific quality assurance (PSQA) program based on measurement alone can be very time consuming due to the highly modulated dose distributions of IMPT fields. Incorporating independent dose calculation and treatment log file analysis could reduce the time required [...] Read more.
An intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) patient-specific quality assurance (PSQA) program based on measurement alone can be very time consuming due to the highly modulated dose distributions of IMPT fields. Incorporating independent dose calculation and treatment log file analysis could reduce the time required for measurements. In this article, we summarize our effort to develop an efficient and effective PSQA program that consists of three components: measurements, independent dose calculation, and analysis of patient-specific treatment delivery log files. Measurements included two-dimensional (2D) measurements using an ionization chamber array detector for each field delivered at the planned gantry angles with the electronic medical record (EMR) system in the QA mode and the accelerator control system (ACS) in the treatment mode, and additional measurements at depths for each field with the ACS in physics mode and without the EMR system. Dose distributions for each field in a water phantom were calculated independently using a recently developed in-house pencil beam algorithm and compared with those obtained using the treatment planning system (TPS). The treatment log file for each field was analyzed in terms of deviations in delivered spot positions from their planned positions using various statistical methods. Using this improved PSQA program, we were able to verify the integrity of the data transfer from the TPS to the EMR to the ACS, the dose calculation of the TPS, and the treatment delivery, including the dose delivered and spot positions. On the basis of this experience, we estimate that the in-room measurement time required for each complex IMPT case (e.g., a patient receiving bilateral IMPT for head and neck cancer) is less than 1 h using the improved PSQA program. Our experience demonstrates that it is possible to develop an efficient and effective PSQA program for IMPT with the equipment and resources available in the clinic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Proton Radiobiology
Cancers 2015, 7(1), 353-381; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers7010353
Received: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
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Abstract
In addition to the physical advantages (Bragg peak), the use of charged particles in cancer therapy can be associated with distinct biological effects compared to X-rays. While heavy ions (densely ionizing radiation) are known to have an energy- and charge-dependent increased Relative Biological [...] Read more.
In addition to the physical advantages (Bragg peak), the use of charged particles in cancer therapy can be associated with distinct biological effects compared to X-rays. While heavy ions (densely ionizing radiation) are known to have an energy- and charge-dependent increased Relative Biological Effectiveness (RBE), protons should not be very different from sparsely ionizing photons. A slightly increased biological effectiveness is taken into account in proton treatment planning by assuming a fixed RBE of 1.1 for the whole radiation field. However, data emerging from recent studies suggest that, for several end points of clinical relevance, the biological response is differentially modulated by protons compared to photons. In parallel, research in the field of medical physics highlighted how variations in RBE that are currently neglected might actually result in deposition of significant doses in healthy organs. This seems to be relevant in particular for normal tissues in the entrance region and for organs at risk close behind the tumor. All these aspects will be considered and discussed in this review, highlighting how a re-discussion of the role of a variable RBE in proton therapy might be well-timed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proton Therapy for Cancer)
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