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 Münster researchers make a fly’s heartbeat visible / Software automatically recognizes pulse
12.03.2018 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht 3-D-written model to provide better understanding of cancer spread
05.03.2018 | Purdue 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: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>