Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer May Help Prevent Heart Disease

Lung CancerProton therapy for lung cancer treatment is a reasonable treatment for patients whose cancer is limited to the chest. The physicians are able to deliver highly effective and precise doses of protons to the exact location of lung cancer. According to the research presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), using proton therapy for treatment of lung cancer may help to reduce the risk of radiation-induced heart diseases. This new study from Penn Medicine made this suggestion based on a retrospective trial of more than 200 patients.

The study found that 1.1% of patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with proton therapy experienced post-treatment mini-strokes after a median follow up of 29 months as compared to 8.2% of patients treated with photon radiation therapy. Also, myocardial infarctions were also less common in proton therapy group as compared to photon group. Proton therapy patients also experienced lesser heart attacks. The researchers also compared the two approaches by looking more closely at the severity of cardiac events and radiation dose to specific parts of the heart. The analysis will help in better understanding of minimizing these risks with newer technologies.

Timothy Kegelman, MD, PhD, chief resident in the department of Radiation Oncology said, “This shows us another potential benefit of proton therapy for lung cancer patients.” “We know proton has the ability to minimize radiation doses to surrounding organs like the heart. And these latest findings suggest that sparing correlates with fewer cardiac problems compared to conventional therapy,” he added.

This study is the first experience suggesting benefit of proton therapy over radiotherapy or IMRT in reducing cardiac dose effects.

The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare consultant for any medical issues you face.

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