Proton Irradiation with Hyperthermia in Unresectable Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Int J Part Ther. 2016 Fall;3(2):327-336. doi: 10.14338/IJPT-16-00016.1. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


Purpose: Unresectable soft tissue sarcomas (STSs) do not usually exhibit significant tumor downstaging with preoperative radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy due to their limited radiosensitivity/chemosensitivity. Limb amputations for tumors of the extremities inevitably lead to considerable loss of function and impairment in quality of life. Local hyperthermia at 39°C to 43°C and proton irradiation combine thermoradiobiological and physical dose distribution advantages, possibly mimicking those of a 12C ion therapy. We report the first 2 patients treated with this unique approach of proton thermoradiotherapy.

Materials and methods: Both patients had an unresectable STS of the left lower leg (1 grade 2 myxoid fibrosarcoma, 1 grade 3 undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma). Both patients had declined the above-knee amputation that had been advised due to their involvement of the neurovascular bundles. They were, therefore recruited to the Hyperthermia and Proton Therapy in Unresectable Soft Tissue Sarcoma (HYPROSAR) study protocol ( NCT01904565). Local hyperthermia was delivered using radiofrequency waves at 100 Mhz once a week after proton therapy. Proton irradiation was undertaken to a dose of 70 to 72 Gy (relative biological effectiveness) delivered at 2.0 Gy (relative biological effectiveness)/ fraction daily for 7 weeks.

Results: Patients tolerated the treatment well with no significant acute or late morbidity. Both primary tumors showed a near complete response on serial magnetic resonance imaging. At a follow-up of 5 and 14 months, the patients were able to carry out indoor and outdoor activities with normal limb function.

Conclusion: This is the first report of proton beam irradiation combined with hyperthermia for cancer therapy. Our first experience in 2 consecutive patients with unresectable STSs shows that the approach is safe, feasible, and effective, achieving functional limb preservation with near total tumor control.

Keywords: hyperthermia; proton therapy; radiation therapy; soft tissue sarcoma; unresectable.

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