Re: Is spending on proton beam therapy for cancer going too far, too fast?
Proton therapy is not the first nor the last where robust lab evidence has not translated into meaningful clinical benefits (1).
When the results of this very large retrospective study were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology GU meeting earlier this year, many in the audience were suprised and there was widespread support for comparative trials assessing the role of proton beam therapy in prostate cancer(2).
In the corridors, academic American colleagues did confirm the open secret that commercial interests are the driving force behind the massive expansion of proton therapy.
1. Is spending on proton beam therapy for cancer going too far, too fast? BMJ 2012;344:e2488
2. Sheets NC et al. Comparative effectiveness of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), proton therapy (PT), and conformal radiation therapy (CRT) in the treatment of localized prostate cancer.J Clin Oncol 30, 2012 (suppl 5; abstr 3).
Competing interests: As a prostate radiation oncologist, very disappointed with the outcome and toxicity data of proton therapy in prostate cancer patients.