Skip to Content

For Physicians

At the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, we partner with referring physicians to provide the best possible care for their patients. We work closely with referring physicians to answer questions and help streamline referrals. Once treatment is complete, we are happy to coordinate and follow up with patients in conjunction with their referring physicians.

We encourage physicians to refer patients through myMDAnderson, our referral tool that allows referring physicians to refer patients online and access patient medical records 24/7.

About Proton Therapy Treatment

Proton therapy is a type of particle therapy which uses a beam of positively charged protons to irradiate cancerous tumors.  Because of the protons unique ability to distribute the radiation dose more directly to the tumor, it minimizes the damage to nearby healthy tissues.

Though many tout proton therapy as “new,” it has actually been used to treat patients for more than 20 years. In the 1950s, proton therapy was first used in a lab setting; in 1964 Harvard cyclotron was used in clinically; and in 1990 it began being used in a hospital setting to treat patients with cancer and other diseases.

Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT)

IMPT is best used to deliver a potent and precise dose of protons to the most complicated tumors, ones that largely reside embedded in the nooks and crannies of the head and neck or skull base. Learn more about this new evolution of cancer treatment.

Clinical Indications & Benefits of Proton Therapy

Proton therapy can be very beneficial to tumor sites requiring a higher degree of dose conformality when the tumor is contiguous to clinical structures such as the heart, lungs and esophagus. Pediatric tumors, thoracic tumors, lymphoma, and tumors of the brain, head and neck, prostate and liver are just a few of the tumors that respond well to proton beam radiation treatment.

Patients who receive proton therapy treatment often have improved tumor control, reduced side effects and potentially lower incidence of secondary malignancies. Because of the ability to precisely target and irradiate tumors while sparing critical and sensitive structures nearby, we are able to increase the radiation dose. This is especially beneficial to patients who are undergoing combined treatments of chemotherapy and radiation; pediatric patients whose bodies are still growing and developing; those with tumors that have become resistant to chemotherapy and require a high dosage of radiation for tumor control; and those with tumors that are near healthy tissues and critical structures.

Research & Published Articles

The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center is an excellent treatment center for your patients, but our physicians, physicists and other cancer specialists are also researchers who have widely studied and published on the efficacy of proton beam radiation. Below are a few of our published articles. Please let us know if you have any questions about any of these articles or want to learn more about how proton therapy might benefit your patients.

Fontenot JD, Lee AK, Newhauser WD. Risk of secondary malignant neoplasms from proton therapy and intensity-modulated x-ray therapy for early-stage prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Jun 1;74(2):616-22. PMID: 19427561

Newhauser WD, Fontenot JD, Mahajan A, Kornguth D, Stovall M, Zheng Y, Taddei PJ, Mirkovic D, Mohan R, Cox JD, Woo S. The risk of developing a second cancer after receiving craniospinal proton irradiation. Phys Med Biol. 2009 Apr 21;54(8):2277-91. Epub 2009 Mar 20. PMID: 19305036.

Giebeler A, Fontenot J, Balter P, Ciangaru G, Zhu R, Newhauser W. Dose perturbations from implanted helical gold markers in proton therapy of prostate cancer. J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2009 Jan 27;10(1):2875. PMID: 19223836

Yepes P, Randeniya S, Taddei PJ, Newhauser WD. Monte Carlo fast dose calculator for proton radiotherapy: application to a voxelized geometry representing a patient with prostate cancer. Phys Med Biol. 2009 Jan 7;54(1):N21-8. Epub 2008 Dec 10. PMID: 19075361

Zhang X, Zhao KL, Guerrero TM, McGuire SE, Yaremko B, Komaki R, Cox JD, Hui Z, Li Y, Newhauser WD, Mohan R, Liao Z. Four-dimensional computed tomography-based treatment planning for intensity-modulated radiation therapy and proton therapy for distal esophageal cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Sep 1;72(1):278-87.PMID: 18722278

Kang Y, Zhang X, Chang JY, Wang H, Wei X, Liao Z, Komaki R, Cox JD, Balter PA, Liu H, Zhu XR, Mohan R, Dong L. 4D Proton treatment planning strategy for mobile lung tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Mar 1;67(3):906-14. PMID: 17293240

Chang JY, Zhang X, Wang X, Kang Y, Riley B, Bilton S, Mohan R, Komaki R, Cox JD. Significant reduction of normal tissue dose by proton radiotherapy compared with three-dimensional conformal or intensity-modulated radiation therapy in Stage I or Stage III non-small-cell lung cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Jul 15;65(4):1087-96. Epub 2006 May 6. PMID: 16682145

Chang JY, Liu HH, Komaki R. Intensity modulated radiation therapy and proton radiotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. Curr Oncol Rep. 2005 Jul;7(4):255-9. Review.PMID: 15946583

Smith A, Gillin M, Bues M, Zhu XR, Suzuki K, Mohan R, Woo S, Lee A, Komaki R, Cox J, Hiramoto K, Akiyama H, Ishida T, Sasaki T, Matsuda K. The M. D. Anderson proton therapy system. Med Phys. 2009 Sep;36(9):4068-83. PMID: 19810479

Hui Z, Zhang X, Starkschall G, Li Y, Mohan R, Komaki R, Cox JD, Chang JY. Effects of interfractional motion and anatomic changes on proton therapy dose distribution in lung cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Dec 1;72(5):1385-95. Epub 2008 May 15. PMID: 18486357

Kudchadker RJ, Lee AK, Yu ZH, Johnson JL, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Amos RA, Nakanishi H, Ochiai A, Dong L. Effectiveness of using fewer implanted fiducial markers for prostate target alignment. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Jul 15;74(4):1283-9. Epub 2009 May 7.PMID: 19427750

Sejpal SV, Amos RA, Bluett JB, Levy LB, Kudchadker RJ, Johnson J, Choi S, Lee AK. Dosimetric changes resulting from patient rotational setup errors in proton therapy prostate plans. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Sep 1;75(1):40-8. Epub 2008 Dec 6. PMID: 19058919

Newhauser W, Fontenot J, Koch N, Dong L, Lee A, Zheng Y, Waters L, Mohan R. Monte Carlo simulations of the dosimetric impact of radiopaque fiducial markers for proton radiotherapy of the prostate. Phys Med Biol. 2007 Jun 7;52(11):2937-52. Epub 2007 May 2.PMID: 17505081

Zhang X, Dong L, Lee AK, Cox JD, Kuban DA, Zhu RX, Wang X, Li Y, Newhauser WD, Gillin M, Mohan R. Effect of anatomic motion on proton therapy dose distributions in prostate cancer treatment. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Feb 1;67(2):620-9. PMID: 17236979

Arjomandy B, Sahoo N, Cox J, Lee A, Gillin M. Comparison of surface doses from spot scanning and passively scattered proton therapy beams. Phys Med Biol. 2009 Jul 21;54(14):N295-302. Epub 2009 Jun 23. PMID: 19550003

Meyer J, Bluett J, Amos R, Levy L, Choi S, Nguyen QN, Zhu XR, Gillin M, Lee A. Spot Scanning Proton Beam Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Treatment Planning Technique and Analysis of Consequences of Rotational and Translational Alignment Errors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2010 Jan 25. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20100641  

Goitein M, Cox JD. Should randomized clinical trials be required for proton radiotherapy? J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jan 10;26(2):175-6. No abstract available. PMID: 18182658 

Cox J. Current and future status of proton-beam radiation therapy in radiation oncology. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2007 Apr;5(4):303-5. Review. No abstract available. PMID: 17607289

Mason KA, Gillin MT, Mohan R, Cox JD. Preclinical biologic assessment of proton beam relative biologic effectiveness at Proton Therapy Center Houston. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Jul 15;68(4):968-70. Epub 2007 May 23. PMID: 17512131

Lee CT, Bilton SD, Famiglietti RM, Riley BA, Mahajan A, Chang EL, Maor MH, Woo SY, Cox JD, Smith AR. Treatment planning with protons for pediatric retinoblastoma, medulloblastoma, and pelvic sarcoma: how do protons compare with other conformal techniques? Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Oct 1;63(2):362-72. PMID: 16168831

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center