Proton Therapy for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Early Clinical Experience and Current Challenges

Cancers (Basel). 2022 May 24;14(11):2587. doi: 10.3390/cancers14112587.


Proton therapy (PT) is a promising development in radiation oncology, with the potential to further improve outcomes for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC). By utilizing the finite range of protons, healthy tissue can be spared from beam exit doses that would otherwise be irradiated with photon-based treatments. Current evidence on PT for HNSCC is limited to comparative dosimetric analyses and retrospective single-institution series. As a consequence, the recognized indications for the reimbursement of PT remain scarce in most countries. Nevertheless, approximately 100 PT centers are in operation worldwide, and initial experiences for HNSCC are being reported. This review aims to summarize the results of the early clinical experience with PT for HNSCC and the challenges that are currently faced.

Keywords: early experience; head and neck cancer; proton therapy.

Publication types

  • Review