Clinical advantages of proton therapy

Proton irradiation allows higher effective doses to be administered to the tumour, with much fewer side effects at the same time.

Improved chances of healing

The targeted bundling of proton energy directly in the tumour reduces the total radiation dose in healthy tissue to one third or less depending on the respective tumour geometry compared to X-ray radiation with the same tumour dose. This makes it possible to increase the therapeutically effective dose so that the tumour cells are destroyed more reliably. Theoretically, this can increase the chances of cure for non-metastasised tumours; in the literature, for example, increases from 20 to 55% local control rates for X-rays to 70 to 80% for protons are reported for skull base chordomas (e.g. PSI Scientific Report 2007 of the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villingen, Switzerland). Analyses of more than 2,000 proton patients showed tumour healing of 98%

Reduced side effects

Radiotherapy often places such a heavy burden on the organism that an inpatient stay is necessary. The favourable ratio of useful radiation to damage radiation in proton therapy, on the other hand, allows not only an increase in the therapeutic tumor doses limited by side effects but also a reduction in the damage doses in healthy tissue. This means that proton radiation is comparatively well tolerated, so that in most cases it can be carried out on an outpatient basis without any problems. In addition, the risk of a secondary tumour as a late consequence of irradiation is considerably reduced. The probability of such a radiation-induced tumour can be 1 percent per remaining 10 years of life. Therefore, children must be irradiated with protons, if at all, according to the opinion of the whole world.

Growing treatment options

Due to the lack of radiation behind the tumour, protons can also be used to detect forms of cancer for which irradiation was previously too risky. These include tumours near the spinal cord or brain stem, bronchial carcinomas (lung cancer) or multiple metastases. This makes it possible, for example, to irradiate the retina of the eye without damaging the optic nerve and the brain behind it.

Shorter treatment time

Since higher single doses per session are possible with proton radiation, the number of necessary sessions can often be significantly reduced compared to X-ray radiation. This relieves the burden on the patients and allows them to be treated in a shorter time.