The promise of proton beam therapy for oesophageal cancer: a systematic review of dosimetric and clinical outcomes
AffiliationSouth West Wales Cancer Centre, Swansea, UK; Swansea University Medical School, Swansea,
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AbstractAims: Due to its physical advantages over photon radiotherapy, proton beam therapy (PBT) has the potential to improve outcomes from oesophageal cancer. However, for many tumour sites, high-quality evidence supporting PBT use is limited. We carried out a systematic review of published literature of PBT in oesophageal cancer to ascertain potential benefits of this technology and to gauge the current state-of-the-art. We considered if further evaluation of this technology in oesophageal cancer is desirable. Materials and methods: A systematic literature search of Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and Web of Science using structured search terms was carried out. Inclusion criteria included non-metastatic cancer, full articles and English language studies only. Articles deliberating technical aspects of PBT planning or delivery were excluded to maintain a clinical focus. Studies were divided into two sections: dosimetric and clinical studies; qualitatively synthesised. Results: In total, 467 records were screened, with 32 included for final qualitative synthesis. This included two prospective studies with the rest based on retrospective data. There was heterogeneity in treatment protocols, including treatment intent (neoadjuvant or definitive), dose, fractionation and chemotherapy used. Compared with photon radiotherapy, PBT seemed to reduce dose to organs at risk, especially lung and heart, although not for all reported parameters. Toxicity outcomes, including postoperative complications, were reduced compared with photon radiotherapy. Survival outcomes were reported to be at least comparable with photon radiotherapy. Conclusion: There is a paucity of high-quality evidence supporting PBT use in oesophageal cancer. Wide variation in intent and treatment protocols means that the role and 'gold-standard' treatment protocol are yet to be defined. Current literature suggests significant benefit in terms of toxicity reduction, especially in the postoperative period, with comparable survival outcomes. PBT in oesophageal cancer holds significant promise for improving patient outcomes but requires robust systematic evaluation in prospective studies.
CitationNicholas O, Prosser S, Mortensen HR, Radhakrishna G, Hawkins MA, Gwynne SH. The Promise of Proton Beam Therapy for Oesophageal Cancer: A Systematic Review of Dosimetric and Clinical Outcomes. Clinical Oncology. 2021 Aug;33(8):e339–58.