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"Radiobiology of Proton Therapy": Results of an international expert workshop

Armin Lühr, Cläre von Neubeck, Jörg Pawelke, Annekatrin Seidlitz, Claudia Peitzsch, Søren M Bentzen, Thomas Bortfeld, Jürgen Debus, Eric Deutsch, Johannes A Langendijk, Jay S Loeffler, Radhe Mohan, Michael Scholz, Brita S Sørensen, Damien C Weber, Michael Baumann, Mechthild Krause
Radiotherapy and Oncology: Journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 2018, 128 (1): 56-67
The physical properties of proton beams offer the potential to reduce toxicity in tumor-adjacent normal tissues. Toward this end, the number of proton radiotherapy facilities has steeply increased over the last 10-15 years to currently around 70 operational centers worldwide. However, taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by proton radiation for clinical radiotherapy requires a better understanding of the radiobiological effects of protons alone or combined with drugs or immunotherapy on normal tissues and tumors. This report summarizes the main results of the international expert workshop "Radiobiology of Proton Therapy" that was held in November 2016 in Dresden. It addresses the major topics (1) relative biological effectiveness (RBE) in proton beam therapy, (2) interaction of proton radiobiology with radiation physics in current treatment planning, (3) biological effects in proton therapy combined with systemic treatments, and (4) testing biological effects of protons in clinical trials. Finally, important research avenues for improvement of proton radiotherapy based on radiobiological knowledge are identified. The clinical distribution of radiobiological effectiveness of protons alone or in combination with systemic chemo- or immunotherapies as well as patient stratification based on biomarker expressions are key to reach the full potential of proton beam therapy. Dedicated preclinical experiments, innovative clinical trial designs, and large high-quality data repositories will be most important to achieve this goal.


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