Proton beam radiation therapy for head and neck malignancies

Curr Oncol Rep. 2010 May;12(3):202-7. doi: 10.1007/s11912-010-0089-0.


Proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) has unique physical properties (e.g., Bragg Peak) that limit the amount of normal tissue irradiated in the head and neck region while maximizing the radiation delivered to the tumor. Radiation therapy is commonly used in both the primary and adjuvant setting for many head and neck malignancies. Limiting the unnecessary radiation to normal tissues within the head and neck region can result in a profound improvement in quality of life during and after treatment. Although PBRT was initially developed in the 1950s, recent technological advances have permitted the development of hospital-based facilities for proton delivery. PBRT has been shown to improve outcomes for patients with sinonasal tumors, chordomas, chondrosarcomas, ocular, and periocular malignancies. Further development of intensity-modulated proton therapy will permit comprehensive treatment for head and neck tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Proton Therapy*


  • Protons