Long-term Outcomes from Proton Therapy for Sinonasal Cancers

Int J Part Ther. 2021 Jun 25;8(1):200-212. doi: 10.14338/IJPT-20-00068.1. eCollection 2021 Summer.


Purpose: To report long-term disease control, survival, and toxicity after proton therapy for sinonasal cancer.

Patients and methods: We reviewed 143 cases of adults with nonmetastatic sinonasal cancers treated with primary (18%; n = 26) or adjuvant (82%; n = 117) proton therapy. The most common histologies were squamous cell carcinoma (29%; n = 42), olfactory neuroblastoma (23%; n = 33), and adenoid cystic carcinoma (16%; n = 23). Patients had predominantly advanced-stage disease (T3, 24%, n = 35; T4, 66%, n = 94) and high-grade histology (52%; n = 74). Surgery included endoscopic resection alone (50%) with craniotomy (10%) or open resection (40%), and 31% had gross disease present at radiotherapy. Most (91%) received high-dose (median, 73.6 Gy radiobiological equivalent [GyRBE]; 84% >70 GyRBE) passive-scatter proton therapy using accelerated hyperfractionation (1.2 GyRBE twice daily) and concurrent chemotherapy (70%). Univariate and multivariate models assessed prognostic factors. Grade 3+ toxicities were recorded per Common Terminology Criteria, version 4. Median follow-up was 3.4 years (range, 0.1-12.5 years) overall and 4.9 years (range, 0.9-12.5 years) for living patients.

Results: The 5-year outcomes were as follows: local control (LC), 80%; neck control, 96%; local-regional control, 78%; freedom from distant metastases, 71%; and disease-free survival, 62%; cause-specific survival, 64%; and overall survival, 59%. Surgery improved LC, but only with gross total resection (5-year LC 87% versus subtotal resection 62.9%, and biopsy alone 55% (P < 0.001). Gross residual disease was the only significant prognostic factor for local-regional control on multivariate analysis. High-grade, T4, and local recurrence were associated with decreased overall survival. Late (G3+) toxicity occurred in 22% (32 of 143), including central nervous system necrosis and vision loss in 6% (9 of 143) and 3.5% (5 of 143), respectively.

Conclusion: Proton therapy after gross-total resection provides excellent long-term LC in patients with locally advanced, high-grade sinonasal cancer. Moreover, LC remains strongly associated with long-term survival. With gross disease, about 60% of patients had long-term LC with proton therapy and induction or concurrent chemotherapy.

Keywords: head and neck; outcomes; particle therapy; proton therapy; sinonasal tumors.