Proton Therapy

  • Nancy Price Mendenhall
  • Zuofeng Li
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Dose distribution is the most powerful factor in determining the therapeutic ratio in radiation oncology. Developments in diagnostic imaging and computerized treatment planning justified the drive for increasingly conformal X-ray-based radiation therapy over the past two decades. The end of substantive improvements in X-ray dose distributions is near, however, because of the inherent problems of entrance and exit dose with X-rays. The unique pattern of dose deposition with protons has long made them a promising source for radiation therapy and recent developments in technology have made proton therapy applicable to almost all cancers. While proton therapy is likely to improve the therapeutic ratio in all radiation indications, the highest priorities currently include cancers requiring radiation doses that exceed the tolerance of critical adjacent structures and cancers of childhood and young adults, for which the inevitable entrance and exit dose of X-ray-based radiation produces a low-dose radiation bath resulting in early functional loss in most childhood tissues as well as a lifelong risk for second malignancies and other radiation-related dysfunctions. This chapter discusses the rationale, technical basis, and potential applications for proton therapy.


Dose Distribution Target Motion Treatment Planning System Relative Biologic Effectiveness Proton Therapy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Florida Proton InstituteJacksonvilleUSA

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