Proton Therapy for Breast Cancer: A Consensus Statement From the Particle Therapy Cooperative Group Breast Cancer Subcommittee

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2021 Oct 1;111(2):337-359. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.05.110. Epub 2021 May 25.


Radiation therapy plays an important role in the multidisciplinary management of breast cancer. Recent years have seen improvements in breast cancer survival and a greater appreciation of potential long-term morbidity associated with the dose and volume of irradiated organs. Proton therapy reduces the dose to nontarget structures while optimizing target coverage. However, there remain additional financial costs associated with proton therapy, despite reductions over time, and studies have yet to demonstrate that protons improve upon the treatment outcomes achieved with photon radiation therapy. There remains considerable heterogeneity in proton patient selection and techniques, and the rapid technological advances in the field have the potential to affect evidence evaluation, given the long latency period for breast cancer radiation therapy recurrence and late effects. In this consensus statement, we assess the data available to the radiation oncology community of proton therapy for breast cancer, provide expert consensus recommendations on indications and technique, and highlight ongoing trials' cost-effectiveness analyses and key areas for future research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast / radiation effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Consensus
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Energy Transfer
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Proton Therapy / methods*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness