A Multidisciplinary Orbit-Sparing Treatment Approach That Includes Proton Therapy for Epithelial Tumors of the Orbit and Ocular Adnexa

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016 May 1;95(1):344-352. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.08.008. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Purpose: Postoperative radiation is often indicated in the treatment of malignant epithelial tumors of the orbit and ocular adnexa. We present details of radiation technique and toxicity data after orbit-sparing surgery followed by adjuvant proton radiation therapy.

Methods and materials: Twenty patients underwent orbit-sparing surgery followed by proton therapy for newly diagnosed malignant epithelial tumors of the lacrimal gland (n=7), lacrimal sac/nasolacrimal duct (n=10), or eyelid (n=3). Tumor characteristics, treatment details, and visual outcomes were obtained from medical records. Acute and chronic toxicity were prospectively scored using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0.

Results: The median radiation dose was 60 Gy(RBE) (relative biological effectiveness; [range 50-70 Gy]); 11 patients received concurrent chemotherapy. Dose to ipsilateral anterior optic structures was reduced in 13 patients by having them gaze away from the target during treatment. At a median follow-up time of 27.1 months (range 2.6-77.2 months), no patient had experienced local recurrence; 1 had regional and 1 had distant recurrence. Three patients developed chronic grade 3 epiphora, and 3 developed grade 3 exposure keratopathy. Four patients experienced a decrease in visual acuity from baseline but maintained vision sufficient to perform all activities of daily living without difficulty. Patients with grade ≥3 chronic ocular toxicity had higher maximum dose to the ipsilateral cornea (median 46.3 Gy[RBE], range 36.6-52.7 Gy[RBE] vs median 37.4 Gy[RBE], range 9.0-47.3 Gy(RBE); P=.017).

Conclusions: Orbit-sparing surgery for epithelial tumors of the orbit and ocular adnexa followed by proton therapy successfully achieved disease control and was well tolerated. No patient required orbital exenteration or enucleation. Chronic grade 3 toxicity was associated with high maximum dose to the cornea. An eye-deviation technique can be used to limit the maximum corneal dose to <35 Gy(RBE).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Cornea / radiation effects
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbit*
  • Orbital Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbital Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Orbital Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Organ Sparing Treatments / methods*
  • Organs at Risk*
  • Proton Therapy / adverse effects
  • Proton Therapy / methods*
  • Radiation Injuries
  • Radiography
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Acuity / radiation effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents