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Reuters Health Information (2006-08-17): Proton beam therapy effective in controlling hepatic tumors


Proton beam therapy effective in controlling hepatic tumors

Last Updated: 2006-08-17 8:33:17 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and who have few other treatment options are likely to benefit from proton beam therapy, Japanese researchers report in the August issue of Cancer.

Lead investigator Dr. Masaharu Hata told Reuters Health, "Proton beam therapy was given safely and effectively to a wide spectrum of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma."

Dr. Hata and colleagues at the University of Tsukuba retrospectively studied 21 patients for whom other treatment modalities were contraindicated or not feasible because of coexisting diseases such as severe cirrhosis, renal failure and severe heart disease.

No patients had regional lymph node or distant metastases. Seven of the patients had multiple tumors, and the median tumor diameter was 40 mm.

Median total radiation dose was 73 Gy, the median number of fractions was 18 and median overall treatment time was 34 days. No toxicities of grade 3 or higher developed.

At a median follow-up of 3.3 years, all but one of the tumors was controlled. At 5 years, the objective response rate was 81% and the primary site control rate was 93%.

Four of 11 patients who had intrahepatic recurrence had a second course of proton beam therapy, which controlled the tumors.

At 5 years, overall survival was 33% and cause-specific survival was 67%.

"The results suggested that this method was tolerable and effective," concluded Dr. Hata, "even for patients who had severe coexisting diseases or unfavorable conditions for whom other treatment modalities were contraindicated or unfeasible."

Cancer 2006;107:591-598.

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