Results From A Phase III Trial Proton Therapy In Head And Neck Cancer

groundbreaking multi-institution Phase III trial led by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reveals that intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) provides significant benefits for patients with oropharyngeal cancer. Compared to traditional intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), IMPT showed similar progression-free survival rates but significantly reduced malnutrition and feeding-tube dependence. With a median follow-up of three years, IMPT achieved an 83% progression-free survival rate, and its precision delivery minimized damage to nearby healthy tissues. This study suggests IMPT could become a new standard-of-care in head and neck cancer treatment.


There are several other clinical trials which are maturing

  • NCT01893307 Trial (2013-2020):
    • Objective: Assess the toxicity and efficacy of proton therapy compared to photon therapy in treating advanced head and neck cancers.
    • Results: Proton therapy resulted in significantly lower rates of severe dysphagia and xerostomia (dry mouth) compared to photon therapy.
  • PROTON Collaborative Group (PCG) Registry Study (2010-ongoing):
    • Objective: Collect data on outcomes and toxicity in patients receiving proton therapy for head and neck cancers.
    • Results: Proton therapy provided high rates of local control and overall survival with reduced acute and late toxicity.


Proton beam therapy offers several advantages for treating head and neck cancers:

  1. Precision: Proton therapy targets tumors with high precision, sparing surrounding healthy tissues and critical structures.
  2. Reduced Side Effects: Patients experience fewer side effects such as severe malnutrition and feeding-tube dependence.
  3. Effective Tumor Control: It provides similar or better tumor control compared to conventional radiation therapies.
  4. Quality of Life: Patients maintain a better quality of life due to reduced treatment-related complications.

These benefits make proton therapy a promising option for head and neck cancer patients.


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