Predicted rates of secondary malignancies from proton versus photon radiation therapy for stage i seminoma

Charles B. Simone*, Kevin Kramer, William P. O'Meara, Justin E. Bekelman, Arnaud Belard, James McDonough, John O'Connell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Purpose: Photon radiotherapy has been the standard adjuvant treatment for stage I seminoma. Single-dose carboplatin therapy and observation have emerged as alternative options due to concerns for acute toxicities and secondary malignancies from radiation. In this institutional review board-approved study, we compared photon and proton radiotherapy for stage I seminoma and the predicted rates of excess secondary malignancies for both treatment modalities. Methods and Material: Computed tomography images from 10 consecutive patients with stage I seminoma were used to quantify dosimetric differences between photon and proton therapies. Structures reported to be at increased risk for secondary malignancies and in-field critical structures were contoured. Reported models of organ-specific radiation-induced cancer incidence rates based on organ equivalent dose were used to determine the excess absolute risk of secondary malignancies. Calculated values were compared with tumor registry reports of excess secondary malignancies among testicular cancer survivors. Results: Photon and proton plans provided comparable target volume coverage. Proton plans delivered significantly lower mean doses to all examined normal tissues, except for the kidneys. The greatest absolute reduction in mean dose was observed for the stomach (119 cGy for proton plans vs. 768 cGy for photon plans; p < 0.0001). Significantly more excess secondary cancers per 10,000 patients/year were predicted for photon radiation than for proton radiation to the stomach (4.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.22-5.01), large bowel (0.81; 95% CI, 0.39-1.01), and bladder (0.03; 95% CI, 0.01-0.58), while no difference was demonstrated for radiation to the pancreas (0.02; 95% CI, -0.01-0.06). Conclusions: For patients with stage I seminoma, proton radiation therapy reduced the predicted secondary cancer risk compared with photon therapy. We predict a reduction of one additional secondary cancer for every 50 patients with a life expectancy of 40 years from the time of radiation treatment with protons instead of photons. Proton radiation therapy also allowed significant sparing of most critical structures examined and warrants further study for patients with seminoma, to decrease radiation-induced toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Dosimetry
  • Para-aortic
  • Proton therapy
  • Secondary malignancies
  • Seminoma


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