Proton Whole-Lung Irradiation: Initial Report of Outcomes

Danielle A. Cunningham, William G. Breen, Jedediah E. Johnson, Trey C. Mullikin, Thomas B. Bradley, Kasie L. Sorenson, Wendy A. Allen-Rhoades, Carola A.S. Arndt, Stephanie F. Polites, Safia K. Ahmed, Nadia N. Laack, Anita Mahajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Whole-lung irradiation is typically used in pediatric patients to decrease the risk of future lung metastases, but radiation dose to normal tissue is associated with long-term risks. Proton whole-lung irradiation (PWLI) provides an opportunity to decrease radiation dose to normal tissue and potentially decrease late toxicity. Methods and Materials: This retrospective study included patients treated with spot-scanning PWLI at a single institution. Toxicity and oncologic outcomes were reviewed. Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans were created prospectively or retrospectively for dosimetric comparisons. Simple paired t tests were performed to assess differences between IMRT and PWLI dosimetric parameters. Results: Twelve patients treated with PWLI were included in this study. Median age was 15 years (range, 3-34). Most (75%) had Ewing sarcoma. Most (92%) received 15 Gy in 10 fractions PWLI, and 3 (25%) received a focal pulmonary boost. Median follow-up was 16.5 months (range, 0-40.4 months). At last follow-up, 1 patient died of disease, while 11 were still alive (7 without disease, 4 with ongoing disease). During and immediately after treatment, 5 patients developed fatigue, 2 patients developed cough, and 1 patient developed nausea. Each treatment-related adverse event was Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (version 5.0) grade 1 and resolved within 3 weeks of treatment completion. No patients have experienced clinical or radiographic pneumonitis or evidence of clinically apparent cardiac toxicity. Compared with IMRT plans, PWLI decreased mean dose to the heart, coronary artery, cardiac valve, left ventricle, aorta, breast, esophagus, kidney, liver, pancreas, thyroid, stomach, and spleen (all P < .001), without sacrificing target coverage. Conclusions: PWLI is feasible to deliver, decreases dose to normal tissue compared with IMRT, and appears to be well-tolerated. PWLI provides potential for decreased late toxicity and merits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-872
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 15 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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