Dr. Corbin on Patient Selection for Proton Therapy in Breast Cancer

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Mayo Clinic Cancer Center</b>

Kimberly S. Corbin, MD, radiation oncologist at the Mayo Clinic, discusses patient selection for proton therapy in breast cancer.

Kimberly S. Corbin, MD, radiation oncologist at the Mayo Clinic, discusses patient selection for proton therapy in breast cancer.

Proton therapy differs from standard radiation in that it is comprised of particles, whereas standard radiation is comprised of photons. Therefore, proton therapy is more effective at sparing tissue from excess radiation.

Proton therapy can be used in many malignancies—not just in breast cancer. Many patients who receive radiation therapy need comprehensive target volume coverage, says Corbin. Typically, proton beam radiation therapy is given to patients who require deep nodal detection or those with a unique anatomy that makes standard radiation particularly high-risk.

On the other hand, proton therapy can be used for patients with early-stage breast cancer who are interested in accelerated partial breast irradiation, a focal therapy that is used to target small volumes of tissue. There may be some relationship between the volume of normal breast tissue exposed to radiation and long-term cosmetic outcomes, adds Corbin. Being able to accurately limit the dose to a smaller volume may prove beneficial for these patients.