Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of external radiotherapy that uses high-energy proton beams instead of photon x-ray beams or electrons. Carefully measured doses of protons are delivered to the precise area needing treatment, using the latest IBA ProteusONE technology. This ensures that the delivery of proton beam therapy is highly accurate and prevents the risk of radiation reaching surrounding healthy tissue.
Radiotherapy is used to kill and destroy cancer cells. It utilises radiation in the form of high-energy x-rays, known as photons, to kill and damage the cancerous cells and prevent their growth and reproduction. It can be used as a non-surgical option to treat cancer, and it can also be used to shrink a tumour or in combination with other treatments.
The Rutherford Cancer Centres and Elekta are bringing the next generation of personalised adaptive radiotherapy technology to oncology centres across the UK, with the new MR-linac Elekta Unity now available at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North West in Liverpool.
Proton particles do not deposit and exit dose, which allows proton therapy to spare normal tissues distal to the tumour target. This is particularly useful for treating head and neck tumours because of the anatomic constraints encountered in nearly all cancers in this region.
Proton therapy enables the delivery of aggressive local therapy. Proton therapy for paranasal sinus tumours reported improved local control and survival.9,10 A recent meta-analysis also reported that proton therapy was superior to IMRT in both disease-free survival (72% vs. 50% at 5 years) and tumour control (81% vs. 64%).
The dosimetric advantage unique to proton therapy translates into toxicity reduction. Studies comparing proton versus photon therapy have reported significantly lower rates of acute > grade 2 dysphagia, dysgeusia, mucositis and nausea favouring proton therapy. Additionally, proton therapy resulted in the prevention of weight loss, lower opioid use, and less gastrostomy tube dependence.