Protons provide significant dosimetric advantages compared with photons due to their unique depth-dose distribution characteristics. However, they are more sensitive to the effects of intra- and inter-treatment fraction anatomic variations and uncertainties in treatment setup. Furthermore, in the current practice of proton therapy, the biological effectiveness of protons relative to photons is assumed to have a generic fixed value of 1.1. However, this is a simplification, and it is likely higher in different portions of the proton beam. Current clinical practice and trials have not fully exploited the unique physical and biological properties of protons. Intensity-modulated proton therapy, with its ability to manipulate energies (in addition to intensities), provides an entirely new dimension, which, with ongoing research, has considerable potential to increase the therapeutic ratio.
- Received July 3, 2013.
- Revision received August 17, 2013.
- Accepted September 2, 2013.
- Copyright © 2013, American Association for Cancer Research.