ACR 2016 The Crossroads of Radiology

ACR2016VM25 - Proton Therapy: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Costs?

May 16, 2016 1:30pm ‐ May 16, 2016 3:00pm


The purpose of the session is to discuss how proton therapy utilization is increasing worldwide. However, most radiation oncologists do not receive proton therapy training during residency. Therefore, many radiation oncologists are not familiar with basic differences between protons and photons in addition to what the clinical indications are for each of these treatment modalities. Even if radiation oncologists do not actively use protons, it is beneficial that they be aware of when it is appropriate to refer patients to a proton center. This course will provide a brief overview of basic differences between proton and photon physics, radiobiology, clinical data, and ongoing clinical trials. Afterwards, a debate session will center around cost-effectiveness of protons versus photons and also include discussion of clinical utilization of proton therapy.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain basic physical properties of protons that allow for better normal tissue sparing compared to photons.
  2. Identify clinical scenarios in which protons have traditionally shown clinical benefit over photons.
  3. Compare the costs of proton vs. photon therapy and illustrate when proton therapy can be cost-effective for select patients.


  • Radiation Oncology




  • Michael Chuong: None

  • Sean Collins: Consultant-Acccuray; Honorarium-Accuray; Speakers Bureau-Accuray; Research Grants-Accuray

  • Keith Unger: None

  • Mark Mishra: Research grants – American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)

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