The promise of protons


UF Proton Therapy Institute, Jacksonville, Fla.

Proton therapy could reduce the side effects of radiation in some patients with lung cancer, according to new findings from researchers at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville.

Studies published in Clinical Lung Cancer and Radiotherapy & Oncology show significant benefits of proton therapy for treating stage 1 and stage 3 lung cancers.

There were significant reductions in the dose of radiation to the lung, heart and esophagus with the use of proton therapy compared with conventional radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy and stereotactic radiotherapy for stage 1 and stage 3 lung cancer. These dose reductions with proton therapy are expected to reduce the risk of side effects from radiation.

The UF Proton Therapy Institute is conducting two research studies focused on safely delivering higher doses of radiation to tumors in the lung.

One study is designed to find out what effects a higher tumor dose of proton radiation has on patients and their stage 3 lung cancer combined with standard chemotherapy. Due to the accuracy of radiation given with protons, the dose to the normal lung tissue that surrounds the tumor will be lower, which may reduce the frequency and severity of side effects.

A second study aims to see if hypofractionated imageguided radiation therapy is a good way to treat stage 1 lung tumors for patients who will not have surgery. This therapy may be better than conventional radiation for some patients because it delivers a more lethal dose of radiation to the tumor, decreases the amount of the patient’s lung and heart exposed to radiotherapy and takes less time.

Physicians and patients interested in more information about the UF Proton Therapy Institute clinical trials can call 877-686-6009 or visit

— Theresa Makrush

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Summer 2011

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