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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Sep 1;81(1):135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.04.071. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Proton beam therapy as a nonsurgical approach to mucosal melanoma of the head and neck: a pilot study.

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Division of Radiation Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.



The aim of this pilot study was to assess the clinical benefit of proton beam therapy for mucosal melanoma of the head and neck.


Patients with mucosal melanoma of the head and neck with histologically confirmed malignant melanoma and N0 and M0 disease were enrolled. Proton therapy was delivered three times per week with a planned total dose of 60 Gy equivalents (GyE) in 15 fractions.


Fourteen consecutive patients were enrolled from January 2004 through February 2008. Patient characteristics were as follows: median age 73 years old (range, 56 to 79 years); male/female ratio, 7/7; and T stage 1/2/3/4, 3/2/0/9. All patients were able to receive the full dose of proton therapy. The most common acute toxicities were mucositis (grade 3, 21%) and mild dermatitis (grade 3, 0%). As for late toxicity, 2 patients had a unilateral decrease in visual acuity, although blindness did not occur. No treatment-related deaths occurred throughout the study. Initial local control rate was 85.7%, and, with a median follow-up period of 36.7 months, median progression-free survival was 25.1 months, and 3-year overall survival rates were 58.0%. The most frequent site of first failure was cervical lymph nodes (6 patients), followed by local failure in 1 patient and lung metastases in 1 patient. On follow-up, 5 patients died of disease, 4 died due to cachexia caused by distant metastases, and 1 patient by carotid artery perforation cause by lymph nodes metastases.


Proton beam radiotherapy showed promising local control benefits and would benefit from ongoing clinical study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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