• New research on proton-beam therapy for prostate cancer

    In a finding likely to add fuel to the debate over treatments for prostate cancer, proton-beam therapy provided no long-term benefit over traditional radiation despite far higher costs, according to a study of 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries published Thursday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. […]

    Critics long have cited proton-beam therapy as a costly new technology with no proven advantage. Medicare pays over $32,000 per patient for proton therapy, compared with under $19,000 for radiation, according to the study.

    The full article in the Wall Street Journal is here. I have not yet located the original paper. If you find it, let me know.


    • I looiked at the JNCI web site without success; it was not in their online site at all. A search by the author’s name did not produce the article either.

      I had thought that journals were not supposed to release new scientific findings to the general public until physicians had a chance to see what was being said.

      Is this practice still being honored?

    • The paper has been published online ahead of print or possibly instead of – a common way these days. Here’s the abstract:


      The citation:

      JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2012)
      doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs463
      First published online: December 14, 2012

    • Proton beams can deliver therapeutic doses of radiation very precisely. The hypothesis that this precision will result in less toxicity to surrounding noncancerous tissues is very engaging. However, the people who were early users did not do proper studies when proton beam first came along. Now, IMRT allows for treatments that have a precision within a few mm of protons. Proton therapy failed to establish its utility by doing science; instead they became advocates and spent money on radio ads that ran in my area about a thousand miles from Loma Linda.
      Randomize the first patient!