Experience in charged particle irradiation of tumors of the skull base: 1977-1992

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1994 Jul 1;29(4):647-55. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(94)90550-9.


Purpose: To review the experience at University of California Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in using charged particles to irradiate primary neoplasms of the skull base and those extending to the skull base from the nasopharynx and paranasal sinuses.

Methods and materials: During the period from 1977 to 1992, 223 patients were irradiated with charged particles at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for tumors either arising in or extending to the skull base, of whom 48 (22%) had recurrent lesions, either post previous surgery or radiotherapy. One hundred twenty-six patients had lesions arising in the cranial base, mostly chordoma (53), chondrosarcoma (27), paraclival meningioma (27) with 19 patients having other histologies such as osteosarcoma or neurofibrosarcoma. There were also 31 patients with primary or recurrent squamous carcinoma of the nasopharynx extending to the skull base, 44 patients with major or minor salivary gland tumors, mostly adenocarcinoma, and 22 patients with squamous carcinoma of the paranasal sinuses, all with cranial base extension.

Results: Local control and survival appeared improved in tumors arising in the skull base, following the ability with charged particles to deliver high doses (mean of 65 Gy-equivalent) with relative sparing of the adjacent normal tissues. The Kaplan-Meier 5-year local control was 85% for meningioma, 78% for chondrosarcoma, 63% for chordoma and 58% for other sarcoma. Follow-up ranged from 4-191 months with a median of 51 months.

Conclusion: Charged particle radiotherapy is highly effective in controlling cranial base lesions which have have been partially resected. Better tumor localization with CT and MRI, improved 3-D treatment planning and beam delivery techniques have continued to reduce the level of serious complications and increase local control and survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Helium
  • Humans
  • Ions
  • Male
  • Neon
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy
  • Skull Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Ions
  • Helium
  • Neon