Aim/objectives/background: The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) have jointly developed the following practice parameter for proton beam radiation therapy. Proton radiotherapy is the application of a high-energy proton beam to a patient in a clinical setting with therapeutic intent. Proton radiotherapy may permit improved therapeutic ratios with lower doses to sensitive normal structures and greater dose to target tumor tissues.
Methods: A literature search was performed to identify published articles regarding clinical outcomes, reviews, quality assurance methodologies, and guidelines and standards for proton radiation therapy. Selected articles are referenced in the text. The following recommendations are based on firsthand experiences of multiple clinical authorities who employ proton therapy and have been peer reviewed by experts at different practicing institutions.
Results: This practice parameter is developed to serve as a tool in the appropriate application of this evolving technology in the care of cancer patients or other patients with conditions where radiation therapy is indicated. It addresses clinical implementation of proton radiation therapy, including personnel qualifications, quality assurance standards, indications, and suggested documentation.
Conclusions: This practice parameter is a tool to guide technical use of proton therapy and does not assess the relative clinical indication of proton radiotherapy when compared with other forms of radiotherapy, but to focus on the best practices required to deliver proton therapy safely and effectively, when clinically indicated. Costs of proton treatments are high, and the economic costs of proton radiotherapy may also need to be considered.