A team of researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center recently completed a study offering new evidence that proton therapy (specifically multi-field optimization intensity modulated proton therapy (MFO-IMPT) may be a more favorable treatment option for some patients with cancer. The study is available in the International Journal of Particle Therapy, and suggests proton therapy can reduce the need for costly feeding tubes, which are estimated to cost over $31,000 a year.
“While intensity-modulated radiation therapy is effective, it also comes at the cost of delivering radiation to nearby healthy tissue and the consequences associated with that additional radiation are serious for both the patient and the healthcare system,” says Steven Frank, M.D., lead researcher and medical director of the Proton Therapy Center. “Our study adds to a growing body of research that shows proton therapy may offer vital clinical and quality of life benefits for patients. Reducing the need for feeding tubes is just one example of how we can help patients have a better treatment experience and also reduce healthcare costs.”
To complete this study, Dr. Frank and his team of researchers assessed patients who had already received treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). They found that only a fifth of patients treated with MFO-IMPT ended up needing feeding tubes, compared to the 65 percent of those who received intensity-modulated radiation therapy that needed feeding tubes.
These findings concur with a previously published research from the Proton Therapy Center that evidenced a decrease in the use of feeding tubes in patients with oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) who received IMPT. This study was published last year, and showed a 50% decrease, compared to those who received IMRT.
In an earlier report related to MD Anderson’s research into the use of proton and radiation therapy, radiation oncology researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson CC), presented results from a Phase III randomized clinical trial studying the effects of Whole Brain Radiation Therapy (WBRT) on patients’ cognitive function in comparison to radiosurgery. The study results, which suggested that the negative impact on cognitive function outweighs any benefit associated with WBRT and tumor control, were presented during the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).