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J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Oct;5(10 Suppl 4):S336-43. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181f20ea2.

Technical advances of radiation therapy for thymic malignancies.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Radiation therapy often plays a critical role in the treatment of thymic malignancies. However, because of the location of these tumors, historically patients have been at a significant risk for radiation-related toxicity such as pericardial effusions, radiation pneumonitis, long-term pulmonary fibrosis, and occasional long-term esophageal stricture, particularly for unresectable thymoma. Recent advancements in technology have provided the treating radiation oncologist with the ability to more accurately target the region at risk while sparing normal structures. In this review, we provide an overview of key advances in radiation techniques for thymoma over the past two decades. These techniques include 3D conformal therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, 4D treatment planning, adaptive radiation therapy, and proton therapy. Each advancement has brought with it unique advantages in maintaining long-term disease control while improving quality of life in this manageable disease.

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