The cancers treated are chordoma and chondrosarcoma

Proton therapy is especially recommended to treat rare tumors of the head (intra-cranial, base of the skull and facial bones), the spinal column and pelvis (sarcoma), and the abdomen (neuroblastoma), or used as supplementary doses for medulloblastoma in children and certain intra-cranial tumors in adults.

Chordoma and chondrosarcoma: the main tumors treated via proton therapy

Chordomas develop at the base of the skull, and chondrosarcomas are rare cartilage tumors that mainly affect young adults. These tumors grow slowly, often revealed by the compression of neighboring organs and responsible for neurological disorders and pain. Although they occur most frequently in adults, children can be affected.

“The first line of treatment for these tumors – surgical removal – is often limited by the proximity of vital organs. Furthermore, these neurological structures are radio-sensitive, which doesn’t always allow the dose to be increased with classic radiotherapy,” explains Dr Dendale. Chordoma and chondrosarcoma are considered radio-resistant, requiring high doses of irradiation (> 70 Gy). As a result, classic radiotherapy alone does not achieve sufficient local control. It is generally combined with radiotherapy using protons. For this type of chordoma and chondrosarcoma, the combination of surgery, classic radiotherapy and proton therapy is considered the gold standard of therapeutic strategy in adults.