Proton radiotherapy for pediatric central nervous system germ cell tumors: early clinical outcomes

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Jan 1;79(1):121-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2009.10.069. Epub 2010 May 6.


Purpose: To report early clinical outcomes for children with central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors treated with protons; to compare dose distributions for intensity-modulated photon radiotherapy (IMRT), three-dimensional conformal proton radiation (3D-CPT), and intensity-modulated proton therapy with pencil beam scanning (IMPT) for whole-ventricular irradiation with and without an involved-field boost.

Methods and materials: All children with CNS germinoma or nongerminomatous germ cell tumor who received treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital between 1998 and 2007 were included in this study. The IMRT, 3D-CPT, and IMPT plans were generated and compared for a representative case.

Results: Twenty-two patients were treated with 3D-CPT. At a median follow-up of 28 months, there were no CNS recurrences; 1 patient had a recurrence outside the CNS. Local control, progression-free survival, and overall survival rates were 100%, 95%, and 100%, respectively. Comparable tumor volume coverage was achieved with IMRT, 3D-CPT, and IMPT. Substantial normal tissue sparing was seen with any form of proton therapy as compared with IMRT. The use of IMPT may yield additional sparing of the brain and temporal lobes.

Conclusions: Preliminary disease control with proton therapy compares favorably to the literature. Dosimetric comparisons demonstrate the advantage of proton radiation over IMRT for whole-ventricle radiation. Superior dose distributions were accomplished with fewer beam angles utilizing 3D-CPT and scanned protons. Intensity-modulated proton therapy with pencil beam scanning may improve dose distribution as compared with 3D-CPT for this treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Child
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germinoma / drug therapy
  • Germinoma / mortality
  • Germinoma / pathology
  • Germinoma / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / radiotherapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Protons