What does prostate position mean

Proton therapy for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Every year more than 60,000 new cases are registered in Germany alone. In addition to surgery and conventional radiation therapy, the focus is increasingly on proton therapy. The Clinic for Particle Therapy at the West German Proton Therapy Center Essen (WPE) under the direction of Prof. Dr. med. Beate Timmermann has initiated a study that could improve the tolerability of the treatment of prostate cancer and at the same time shorten the duration of treatment. Below she answers the most important questions about proton therapy for prostate cancer.

Susanne Amrhein, Primo Medico

Why is proton radiation an interesting therapeutic option for cancer of the prostate?

Prof. Beate Timmermann: “The challenge in radiation therapy is one Prostate cancer lies in the fact that the prostate is located in a very sensitive area of ​​the body: in the immediate vicinity of the rectum, the bladder and the urethra. At the same time, we know that the chances of recovery from prostate cancer increase when the radiation dose is high. This is exactly where the advantages of the Proton irradiation on: In contrast to normal radiotherapy, the protons emit less radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue on their way through the body, but are stopped precisely in the target volume, the prostate tumor, in order to develop their full effect there. We hope to be able to better apply high doses of radiation without causing relevant side effects in healthy tissue. "

How do you prevent proton beam misdirection if the prostate changes position during the weeks of treatment?

Prof. Beate Timmermann: “We have gold markers implanted for precise localization of the tumor in order to understand changes in the prostate position and to be able to adjust the beam if necessary. A precise drinking protocol standardizes the filling of the bladder. By the way, so-called spacers can also be used, which additionally protects the intestinal wall. The various applications are carried out in close cooperation with the Urology Clinic at the Essen University Hospital (UKE). "

For which patients with prostate cancer is proton radiation an option?

Prof. Beate Timmermann: “In principle, all locally limited tumors can be treated with protons, as long as the cancer is limited to the prostate and the surrounding area and has not yet metastasized. Of course, all cases are discussed in an interdisciplinary manner in the Tumor Board of the Prostate Center of the University Medical Center Essen. Here, the team of experts jointly determines the best therapy for affected patients. Specifically, prostate tumors with at least a medium risk (Gleason score from 7 or PSA value of more than 10 ng / ml) are included in our study. Incidentally, many health insurance companies also cover the costs of the treatment with these criteria. We are happy that our excellent treatment and counseling services can of course also be offered to patients who have been assigned externally. "

What results do you hope to get from your study on proton radiation in prostate cancer?

Prof. Beate Timmermann: “We assume that proton therapy will probably have fewer undesirable side effects with the same treatment results. In order to scientifically prove this, such a study must of course precisely document the tolerability, but also the implementation of the therapy. We implement this in our “HypoPros” study on moderately hypofractionated radiation. Compared with older concepts, we would also like to shorten the treatment times from eight to around four weeks now. If we can prove that the effectiveness of this method is high with very good tolerability, this means a gain in quality of life for the patients concerned ”.