Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Intensity modulated proton therapy reduces need for feeding tubes by 50 percent

Advanced form of proton therapy offers quality of life benefits compared to standard treatment, prompts further study by MD Anderson Researchers

A new study from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center found that the use of feeding tubes in oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) cancer patients treated with intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) decreased by more than 50 percent compared to patients treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This suggests that proton therapy may offer vital quality of life benefits for patients with tumors occurring at the back of the throat.

The results, presented today by the lead researcher, Steven J. Frank, M.D., associate professor of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting, also indicate that toxicity levels in OPC patients treated with IMPT are much lower than those treated with IMRT.

IMPT, one of the most advanced forms of proton therapy, delivers a precise dose of protons to tumors embedded in the "nooks and crannies" of the head and neck, including the base of tongue and tonsils. MD Anderson treated its first IMPT patient in 2011 and since approximately 150 patients, many with complex head and neck malignancies, have been treated with this form of proton therapy. Unlike IMRT, which destroys both cancerous and healthy cells, IMPT has the ability to destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissue from damage. Therefore, important quality of life outcomes such as neurocognitive function, vision, swallowing, hearing, taste and speech can be preserved in head and neck patients.

"IMPT is especially well-suited for patients with the most complicated tumors of the head and neck, precisely painting the protons onto the tumor layer by layer," said Frank. "In this way, the treatment team can confine the majority of the tumor-damaging energy to target areas and work to protect normal structures such as the oral cavity and brainstem."

OPC cancer develops in the part of the throat just behind the mouth. The American Cancer Society estimates that 36,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer of the oral cavity and oropharynx each year (approximately a 20 percent increase since 2010). OPC cancer in most cases is linked to infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) and it's estimated that nearly 70 percent of OPC cancers are HPV-positive.

MD Anderson researchers evaluated 25 OPC patients treated with IMPT and 25 OPC patients treated with IMRT as part of the study. Five patients treated with IMPT required the use of feeding tubes (20 percent) compared to 12 patients treated with IMRT (48 percent). IMPT patients were spared from other serious side effects caused by the toxicity of IMRT such as vomiting, nausea, hearing problems, and mucositis (inflammation and ulceration of the digestive track). In addition, patients could better sustain their nutrition and hydration levels, often leading to faster recovery during and after treatment.

"With a recent epidemic of HPV-associated head and neck cancer among U.S. adults, there is a critical need to minimize the side effects associated with conventional IMRT that affects the patients' courses of treatments, and, ultimately, the rest of their lives," said Frank. "Since radiation therapy is the main tool to treat the disease in this fairly young group of patients, we must understand if more advanced technologies will provide additional value to this patient population."

Based on the results of this study, a Phase II/III randomized trial of IMPT vs. IMRT for the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer of the head and neck is underway at MD Anderson. Over the next five years, MD Anderson aims to enroll 360 patients in the trial, evaluating proton's ability to reduce toxicity across a range of known side effects and enhance long-term cancer survivorship when compared to conformal radiation therapy.

Other MD Anderson researchers contributing to this study include David Rosenthal, M.D., Kie-Kian Ang, M.D., G. Brandon Gunn, M.D., X. Ronald Zhu, M.D., Matthew B. Palmer, M.B.A., C.M.D., and Adam Garden, M.D., all of Radiation Oncology; Erich Sturgis, M.D., Mark Chambers, M.D., and Katherine Hutcheson, M.D., of Head and Neck Surgery.

Agata Porter | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: IMPT IMRT OPC Oncology Radiation healthy cell oral cavity quality of life radiation therapy

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>