Proton therapy for lymphoma

Proton therapy for lymphoma

Proton therapy for lymphoma

“As is the case with proton therapy for any malignancy, using this modality potentially improves the therapeutic ratio. In Hodgkin lymphoma patients, proton therapy can help minimize toxicity and maximize the cure rate. Patients with Hodgkin lymphoma are at the highest risk of developing late complications from treatment due to their excellent cure rates and the early age at presentation (it is the most common malignancy among adolescents and young adults). In addition, many lymphomas are found in the mediastinum, adjacent to the lung, heart and breast tissue, which are all extremely sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation and can lead to second cancers and cardiac complications." 

Dr. Brad Hoppe,
Associate Professor,
Department of Radiation Oncology,
University of Florida

What can you gain?

Advanced radiation therapy technologies such as proton therapy may offer significant and clinically relevant advantages such as sparing important organs at risk and decreasing the risk for late normal tissue damage while still achieving the primary goal of disease control. This is especially important for lymphoma patients who are being treated with curative intent and have long life expectancies following therapy. Article reference is available in the white paper.

Reference to ongoing studies

There is one ongoing study included in the Clinical Trials, government registry and results database. The Massachusetts General Hospital is investigating the possibility of using proton radiation to treat different types of lymphoma that involve mediastinum. Outcome measures include radiation dose improvement to heart and lung normal tissues, as well as disease control and toxicity profile. Primary completion data is estimated in 2017.

The expert's perspective

As an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida, Dr. Hoppe specializes in the management of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer and prostate cancer.

"Patients who receive proton therapy are primarily younger and their disease involves the mediastinum. These are the patients who would benefit the most from a reduction of long-term side effects. We found that among 138 Hodgkin lymphoma patients treated with proton therapy – a larger cohort than any IMRT experience – the cure rate is the same as with photon-based treatment and there were no grade 3 toxicities, such as pneumonitis or esophagitis. Lymphomas are generally treated with a low dose of radiation, so in most cases severe side effects don’t occur, except for some esophagitis or pain or discomfort with swallowing. Although data for direct comparison to photon-based treatment with a similar patient population are lacking, we do observe a lower radiation dose to the esophagus with proton treatment plans.”



Useful documents, white papers and publications

Learn more about the benefits of proton therapy  and find the latest studies in this IBA white paper.

IBA White paper: Treating Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma with proton therapy

General overview of the current practice, opportunities and challenges in treatment of Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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