Can Technological Improvements Reduce the Cost of Proton Radiation Therapy?


In recent years there has been increasing interest in the more extensive application of proton therapy in a clinical and preferably hospital-based environment. However, broader adoption of proton therapy has been hindered by the costs of treatment, which are still much higher than those in advanced photon therapy. This article presents an overview of on-going technical developments, which have a reduction of the capital investment or operational costs either as a major goal or as a potential outcome. Developments in instrumentation for proton therapy, such as gantries and accelerators, as well as facility layout and efficiency in treatment logistics will be discussed in this context. Some of these developments are indeed expected to reduce the costs. The examples will show, however, that a dramatic cost reduction of proton therapy is not expected in the near future. Although current developments will certainly contribute to a gradual decrease of the treatment costs in the coming years, many steps will still have to be made to achieve a much lower cost per treatment.

Seminars in Radiation Oncology