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Volume 21, Number 4, 2016

Review of photon and proton radiotherapy for skull base tumours

Piero Fossati, Andrea Vavassori, Letizia Deantonio, Eleonora Ferrara, Marco Krengli, Roberto Orecchia


An extremely large variety of benign and malignant tumours occur at skull base; these tumour lesions are in the proximity to structures deputed to relevant physiologic functions, limiting extensive surgical approaches to this body district. Most recent progresses of surgery and radiotherapy have allowed to improve local control with acceptable rates of side effects. Various photon radiotherapy techniques are employed, including 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) and brachytherapy that is manly limited to the treatment of primary or recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Proton beam radiotherapy is also extensively used thanks to its physical characteristics. Our review, focusing in particular on meningioma, chordoma, and chondrosarcoma, suggests that proton therapy plays a major role in the treatment of malignant tumours whereas photon therapy still plays a relevant role in the treatment of benign tumour lesions.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2016; 21(4) : 336-355

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