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Proton beam therapy shows encouraging long-term outcome for patients with locally advanced sinonasal cancers

Proton beam radiation therapy shows encouraging results for patients with locally advanced sinonasal malignancies, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.

Sinonasal cancers are very rare but aggressive types of cancer. Patients usually present with advanced stage with tumors involving normal structures in the skull base such as eyes, optic nerves, brain. Between 1991 and 2003, 99 patients with newly diagnosed sinonasal cancers were treated with proton beam therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Sixty-seven percent of the patients had some type of surgery prior to their radiation. The median total dose to the primary tumor was 70 Gray. After a median follow-up of 8.5 years, the local control rates at five and eight years were 87 percent and 83 percent, respectively, and there was no statistically significant difference in local control per histological subtype, T stage, and surgery vs. biopsy.

"Due to the anatomical location of sinonasal cancers, conventional radiation therapy results in very poor local control and is associated with significant treatment-related toxicity," Annie Chan, M.D., a radiation oncologist and the principal investigator of the study at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, said. "Proton beam radiation therapy, with its superior dose distribution, allows the delivery of higher doses of radiation to the tumor while sparing more or the healthy surrounding tissues. This study showed very encouraging results for these patients and now prospective multi-institutional studies are being planned to further study the use of proton therapy in the treatment of this rare but aggressive malignancy."

The abstract, "Long-term Outcome of Proton Beam Therapy for Advanced Sinonasal Malignacies," will be presented in the plenary session on Thursday, February 25, 2010. To speak with one of the study authors, contact Beth Bukata or Nicole Napoli on February 25-26, 2010, in the press room at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa at 520-796-8228. You may also e-mail them at or

About the American Head and Neck Society

The American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) is the single largest organization in North America for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology. The purpose of the AHNS is to promote and advance the knowledge of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of neoplasms and other diseases of the head and neck; to promote and advance research in diseases of the head and neck; and to promote and advance the highest professional and ethical standards.

About the American Society of Clinical Oncology

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 28,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. For ASCO information and resources, visit Patient-oriented cancer information is available at www.Cancer.Net.

About the American Society for Radiation Oncology

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit To learn more about ASTRO, visit

About SNM

Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in molecular imaging, a vital element of today's medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated.

Beth Bukata | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: AHNS ASCO Astro Oncology ProTon Radiation SNM Sinonasal devastating disease neck radiation oncology radiation therapy therapy

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