Proton radiation therapy is a new alternative to traditional radiation therapy. It is still being investigated for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma and other types of mesothelioma. However, it shows promise as a possible preferential treatment option, given its ability to precisely target tumors and avoid damaging surrounding healthy tissues. 

How Does Proton Radiation Therapy Compare to Traditional Radiation Therapy?

Proton radiation uses an external beam that delivers proton particles at the tumor being treated and a reduced dose of radiation to surrounding organs. In contrast, traditional radiation therapy delivers the same dose of x-rays (beams of photons) to the tumor and the tissues beyond. This difference in tissue targeting may make proton radiation therapy the safer of the two therapies.

Some studies have already shown proton radiation therapy to be as effective as traditional radiation therapy and with fewer side effects to boot. With possibly fewer side effects from proton radiation therapy, the individual seeking treatment may be in better shape to undergo other cancer therapies such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and additional radiation therapy. Thus, proton radiation therapy may allow for more effective treatment overall, especially for individuals who are older, have more health conditions, or are less able to tolerate therapies with major side effects.1

How Can I Receive Proton Radiation Therapy?

Proton radiation therapy is more expensive than traditional radiation therapy. It is usually covered by Medicare, but not all insurance companies cover it. Moreover, it is only available at specialty treatment centers. At these centers, you may be able to receive experimental treatment with proton radiation therapy as part of a clinical trial for malignant pleural mesothelioma.2

Proton Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma