Clinical Technology

Health Council of the Netherlands reports on cancer patients to benefit from Proton Therapy.

The Dutch National Health Council recently estimated that in 2015 about 9,400 Dutch cancer patients, about 10 percent of all cancer patients in the country, could benefit from Proton Therapy.

The Advisory Committee that prepared the report, concluded that the clinical introduction of Proton Beam Therapy will require special attention by the Netherlands health care system in the near future.

Proton radiotherapy is an emerging treatment modality for cancer that promises to bring certain advantages over conventional radiotherapy," the report stated. "Its superior physical properties — minimal dose to normal tissues resulting in reduction of acute and late side effects — offer the possibility of a better and safer radiation technique for selected indications. Despite 30 years of clinical experience and over 50,000 patients treated […] there is an urgent need for robust clinical evidence to substantiate and validate the claims to better efficacy and less side effects of proton radiotherapy […] This may lead to a reduction of side effects, and/or increased local tumor control, but without an accompanying increase in late normal tissue or organ toxicity. In addition, it may result in reduced risk of secondary malignancies."
The report envisions a gradual adoption of the clinical use of PT in the Netherlands from 1 percent of all radiation therapy patients to about 15 percent % over the next 20 years.

The standard indications for the use of proton beams includes intraocular tumors, chordomas/chondrosarcomas and pediatric malignancies.

The next step will be to use PT where a better Local Control is needed. PT could be used for intracranial, urologic (prostate & bladder) and lung (NSCLC) cancers among others. These indications represent 3 percent of RT patients. PT also offers a real opportunity for retreatment of recurring cancers.

As time passes and evidences builds, clinicians and researchers will be able to demonstrate that PT offers Reduced Side Effects in a number of cancer indications. It concerns most of the above indications as well as Breast, Gynecological, and GI (Esophagus, gastric, rectal, pancreas) cancers as well as lymphomas and sarcomas. It represents 12 percent of RT patients.

PT really represents an opportunity in oncology. On top of reducing the risk of secondary cancers, the full potential of proton therapy lies in the reduction of side effects to enhance the quality of life of patients during and after treatment.


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