Proton beam radiotherapy for pancreas cancer
Pancreatic carcinoma is a challenging malignancy to manage with a very poor prognosis. Despite continued difficulties in its management, there have been incremental improvements in outcomes over the past several decades. Achieving the best oncologic outcomes requires a multimodality approach including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Proton radiotherapy enables the delivery of high-dose radiotherapy to the tumor or resection bed while sparing nearby critical organs. Due to their unique physical properties, protons can deliver radiotherapy dose distributions that are not achievable with photons (X-rays) even with advanced photon delivery techniques (e.g., intensity-modulated radiotherapy). Improved dose distributions can lead to reduced treatment toxicity and enable treatment intensification. As better chemotherapy regimens lead to better systemic disease control, it will become increasingly important that local-regional control is achieved. This will in part be accomplished by combining better radiotherapy with more active chemotherapies. Proton radiotherapy provides an excellent means for achieving this.