Massachusetts General HospitalIt is believed that cancers arising in the sinonasal cavity and the base of skull are tremendously uncommon. It has been estimated that the occurrence of sinonasal cancers is roughly 1/500,000 to 1/1,000,000 people. A new study claims that Proton beam radiation therapy appears to exhibit heartening outcomes for patients suffering from locally advanced sinonasal malignancies.

Between 1991 and 2003, around 99 patients with recently detected sinonasal cancers were apparently treated with proton beam therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It was seen that roughly 67 percent of the patients appeared to have had some kind of surgery before their radiation. The median total dose to the primary tumor seemed to be 70 Gray.

Annie Chan, M.D., a radiation oncologist and the principal investigator of the study at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, commented, “Due to the anatomical location of sinonasal cancers, conventional radiation therapy results in very poor local control and is associated with significant treatment-related toxicity. Proton beam radiation therapy, with its superior dose distribution, allows the delivery of higher doses of radiation to the tumor while sparing more or the healthy surrounding tissues. This study showed very encouraging results for these patients and now prospective multi-institutional studies are being planned to further study the use of proton therapy in the treatment of this rare but aggressive malignancy.”

Subsequent to a median follow-up of roughly 8.5 years, the local control rates at five and eight years appeared to be 87 percent and 83 percent, correspondingly, and there seemed to be no statistically noteworthy dissimilarity in local control per histological subtype, T stage, and surgery vs. biopsy.

The study was presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.