London: Proton beam therapy can attack brain cancer in kids while causing fewer side effects than conventional radiotherapy, according to a recent study.
The study, led by Torunn Yock, Massachusetts General Hospital, Proton Center, Boston, and colleagues suggests that proton radiotherapy may not be as toxic to the rest of a child’s body as conventional radiotherapy.
Compared with traditional radiotherapy, proton beam therapy is highly targeted and is used to treat hard-to-reach cancers, with a lower risk of damaging the surrounding tissue and causing side effects.
Proton beam therapy entered the news headlines in 2014, especially in the UK and Europe, when UK parents Brett and Naghmeh King took their son Ashya from Southampton General Hospital, UK, without doctors’ permission so that he could be treated with proton beam therapy in Prague in the Czech Republic.
The authors say that the findings suggest that proton radiotherapy seems to result in an acceptable degree of toxicity and had similar survival outcomes to those achieved with photon-based radiotherapy. Although, there remain some effects of treatment on hearing, endocrine, and neurocognitive outcomes, particularly in younger patients, other late effects common in photon-treated patients, such as cardiac, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal toxic effects, were absent.
They concluded that proton radiotherapy resulted in acceptable toxicity and had similar survival outcomes to those noted with conventional radiotherapy, suggesting that the use of the treatment may be an alternative to photon-based treatments.