The emerging role of proton therapy for esophagus cancer
Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) plays an essential role in the treatment of esophageal cancer as either curative or neoadjuvant therapy. When delivered with conventional photon-based techniques, multiple adjacent organs at risk including the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, stomach, and bowel, receive considerable radiation dose which may contribute to acute and late adverse events (AEs). Proton beam therapy (PBT) offers a reduction in radiation exposure to these organs and potentially an improvement in the therapeutic ratio. Herein we discuss the emerging role of PBT for esophageal cancer, including rationale, treatment planning, early dosimetric and clinical comparisons of PBT with photon-based techniques, ongoing prospective trials, and potential areas of opportunity for the incorporation of PBT with the goal of improving outcomes for patients with esophageal cancer.