Challenges and opportunities for proton therapy during pregnancy: Pregnancy proton therapy

Jeroen Blommaert, Marijke De Saint-Hubert, Tom Depuydt, Edwin Oldehinkel, Philip Poortmans, Frederic Amant, Maarten Lambrecht

Research outputpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


During pregnancy, the use of radiation therapy for cancer treatment is often considered impossible due to the assumed associated fetal risks. However, suboptimal treatment of pregnant cancer patients and unjustifiable delay in radiation therapy until after delivery can be harmful for both patient and child. In non-pregnant patients, proton-radiation therapy is increasingly administered because of its favorable dosimetric properties compared with photon-radiation therapy. Although data on the use of pencil beam scanning proton-radiation therapy during pregnancy are scarce, different case reports and dosimetric studies have indicated a more than 10-fold reduction in fetal radiation exposure compared with photon-radiation therapy. Nonetheless, the implementation of proton-radiation therapy during pregnancy requires complex fetal dosimetry for the neutron-dominated out-of-field radiation dose and faces a lack of clinical guidelines. Further exploration and standardization of proton-radiation therapy during pregnancy will be necessary to improve radiotherapeutic management of pregnant women with cancer and further reduce risks for their offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-774
Number of pages8
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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