Proton therapy for small cell lung cancer
The prognosis of limited-stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) continues to improve and is now roughly comparable to that of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This shift, taken together with the decreased toxicities of modern radiotherapy (RT) for LS-SCLC compared with those reported in historical trials, necessitates further evaluation of whether proton beam therapy (PBT) could further reduce both acute and late toxicities for patients receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy for LS-SCLC. These notions are discussed theoretically, with an emphasis on cardiac events. This is followed by a review of the published evidence to date demonstrating improved dosimetry with PBT over intensity-modulated RT and encouraging safety and efficacy profiles seen in early clinical reports. In addition to covering technical aspects of PBT for LS-SCLC such as intensity-modulated PBT, image-guidance for PBT, and adaptive planning, this review also discusses the need for increased data on intensity-modulated PBT for LS-SCLC, economic and quality of life analyses for future PBT SCLC studies, careful categorization of cardiac events in these patients, and the role for immunotherapy combined with photon- or proton-based RT for LS-SCLC.