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Volume 21, Number 4, 2016

Review of carbon ion radiotherapy for skull base tumors (especially chordomas)

Jun-etsu Mizoe



To review the clinical feasibility of carbon ion radiotherapy (C-ion RT) for skull base tumors, especially for chordomas which are often seen in the skull base area.


Skull base tumors treated by C-ion RT consist of primary chordomas and chondrosarcomas, and enormously extended head and neck cancer with a histology of adenoid cystic carcinomas, adenocarcinomas and malignant melanomas. These tumors are located on anatomically complex sites where they are close to important normal tissues and therefore demand better physical dose distribution to avoid unnecessary doses for surrounding normal tissues. These tumors are also known as radio-resistant tumors for low linear energy transfer (LET) radiotherapy and show favorable results after treatment by high LET carbon ion radiotherapy.

Materials and methods

Biological reports of C-ions for the chordoma cell line, clinical results of C-ion RT for skull base tumors, dose comparative studies between two representative facilities and tumor control probability (TCP) of chordomas by C-ion RT were reviewed.


C-ion RT for skull base tumors, especially for chordomas, shows favorable results of tumor control and acceptable complications. The C-ion dose of 57.36 gray equivalent (GyE)/16 fractions/4 weeks will deliver 90% of local control for chordomas. The limiting doses for surrounding normal tissues are clearly revealed. The dose difference between institutes was assumed within 10%.


C-ion RT is recommended for skull base tumors because of high LET characteristics and clinical results.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2016; 21(4) : 356-360

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