Skip to main content
Accessibility  |  Contact  |  Privacy  |  Terms of Service

Photons vs. Protons for Treatment of Spinal Cord Gliomas

  • Published: 2010-12-22 : Author: Ohio State University Medical Center
  • Synopsis: Long-term outcomes of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by radiotherapy for Gliomas which represent most spinal cord tumors.

Main Document

A study comparing the long-term outcomes of patients with spinal-cord tumors following radiation therapy suggests that certain subsets of patients have better long-term survival. It also suggests that photon-based radiation therapy may result in better survival than proton-beam therapy, even in patients with more favorable characteristics.

This is the first study to report the long-term outcomes of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by modern radiotherapy techniques, the researchers say. Gliomas, which represent most spinal cord tumors, develop in about 17,000 Americans annually, and 13,000 die from them.

"Our findings need to be verified in a larger number of patients, but they suggest that individuals younger than age 54, those with ependymomas and those treated with photon-based therapy versus proton-beam treatment have better overall survival," says principal investigator Dr. Arnab Chakravarti, chair and professor of Radiation Oncology and co-director of the Brain Tumor Program at The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

"Perhaps most surprising is that the subset of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by protons appears to do worse, even though they have more favorable pretreatment demographics," Chakravarti says. "This certainly warrants validation in a larger subset of patients."

Surgery is the standard therapy for spinal-cord tumors, and it is often followed by radiotherapy. But whether all patients or only certain patients should receive radiation therapy is controversial, Chakravarti says.

The research is published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

The retrospective study examined the long-term outcomes of 32 patients with primary spinal-cord gliomas. Twenty-two of the patients were treated with photon-beam radiation therapy (such as 3-D conformal radiation and intensity-modulated radiotherapy), and 10 were treated with proton-beam therapy.

The five-year overall survival rate was 65 percent and the progression free survival was 61 percent for the group.

The study also showed poorer overall survival for the following patients:

Those age 55 and older.

Those with astrocytomas versus ependymomas.

Those who had a biopsy versus those whose tumor was surgically removed.

Funding from the National Cancer Institute and the Brain Tumor Funders Collaborative Group supported this research.

Chakravarti is the Max Morehouse Chair in Cancer Research.

Ohio State researcher Dr. E. Antonio Chiocca also contributed to this study.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute ( is one of only 40 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States designated by the National Cancer Institute. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top cancer hospitals in the nation, The James is the 180-bed adult patient-care component of the cancer program at The Ohio State University. The OSUCCC-James is one of only seven funded programs in the country approved by the NCI to conduct both Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.

Similar Topics

1 : Exploring Upper Limb Dysfunction After Spinal Cord Injury : Kessler Foundation.
2 : Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Can Be Predicted : University of Zurich.
3 : Bowel Care Top Concern for People with Spinal Cord Injury : Simon Fraser University.
4 : Human Neural Stem Cell Grafts Used to Repair Spinal Cord Injuries in Monkeys : University of California - San Diego.
5 : How the Human Brain Can Tell Our Arms and Legs Apart : Salk Institute.
From our Spinal Cord Injury section - Full List (96 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.

Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.

List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.

Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.

1 : Smartphone Addiction is More Addiction to Social Interaction
2 : Actress Eileen Grubba Advocates for Inclusion from Hollywood to the Boardroom
3 : Types of Genetic Mutations Associated with Nephrotic Syndrome Identified
4 : Fighting My Cancer as Much as Possible - Why Many Patients Join Phase 1 Clinical Trials
5 : Social Stigma Can Stand in the Way of Food Insecurity Screening


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.