David A. Bush, MD | Authors

Proton Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer: Is There Enough Evidence?

October 15, 2010

Proton radiation for cancer offers the ability to conform the high-dose region of radiation therapy to the tumor while reducing the dose of radiation to adjacent normal tissues. In lung cancer, this equates to greater sparing of uninvolved lung, heart, esophagus, and spinal cord. Sparing these normal tissues permits the delivery of higher-radiation doses to the tumor. Studies that compare the distribution of radiation doses for lung cancer show that proton radiation is superior, even when factors such as respiratory motion are considered. Clinical experience confirms the feasibility of proton radiation for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancers, and clinical trials are being conducted in locally advanced tumors: To date, evidence indicates that proton radiation should be further explored.