Considerations when treating lung cancer with passive scatter or active scanning proton therapy
Lung cancer, due to its poor clinical outcomes and significant toxicity associated with standard photon-based radiation, is a disease site that has the potential to greatly benefit from accurate treatment with proton radiation therapy. The potential of proton therapy is the ability to increase the radiation dose to the tumor while simultaneously decreasing the radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues. For lung cancer treatment, this could mean significant sparing of the uninvolved healthy lung, which is difficult to achieve with external photon beam therapy, or decreasing the heart dose. In treating lung cancer with proton therapy, some additional considerations need to be made compared to treating patients with external photon beam radiation therapy. These include accounting for the finite range of protons in the patient, understanding temporal effects, potential dose discrepancies and choosing an appropriate treatment planning system for the task. One final consideration is differences between the different available proton therapy delivery systems—passive scattered proton therapy (PSPT) and active scanning proton therapy.