Technology insight: Proton beam radiotherapy for treatment in pediatric brain tumors

Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2004 Dec;1(2):97-103; quiz 1 p following 111. doi: 10.1038/ncponc0090.


Tumors of the central nervous system are the most common solid tumor in childhood. Treatment options for childhood brain tumors include radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy, often given in combination. Radiation therapy regularly has a pivotal role in treatment, and technological advancements during the past quarter of a century have dramatically improved the ability to deliver radiation in a more focused manner. Improvements in imaging and computing ability led to better targeting of tumor tissue using conventional X-ray therapy. These advances have been harnessed for proton radiation therapy. Proton radiotherapy has special physical characteristics that allow normal tissues to be spared better than even the most conformal photon radiation, and it will reduce the complications from treatment. This review discusses the characteristics of proton radiation, and describes examples of pediatric brain tumor patients who would benefit most from this form of treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Proton Therapy
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal


  • Protons