Salivary Gland. Photon beam and particle radiotherapy: Present and future

Ester Orlandi, Nicola Alessandro Iacovelli, Maria Bonora, Anna Cavallo, Piero Fossati

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

41 Citations (Scopus)


Salivary gland cancers (SGCs) are rare diseases and their treatment depends upon histology, stage and site of origin. Radical surgery is the mainstay of treatment but radiotherapy (RT) plays a key role in both the postoperative and the inoperable setting, as well as in recurrent disease. In the absence of prospective randomized trials, a wide retrospective literature suggests postoperative RT (PORT) in patients with high risk pathological features. SGCs, and adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) in particular, are known to be radio-resistant tumors and should therefore respond well to particle beam therapy. Recently, excellent outcome has been reported with radical carbon ion RT (CIRT) in particular for ACC. Both modern photon- and hadron-based treatments are effective and are characterized by a favourable toxicity profile. But it is not clear whether one modality is superior to the other for disease control, due to the differences in patients' selection, techniques, fractionation schedules and outcome measurements among clinical experiences. In this paper, we review the role of photon and particle RT for malignant SGCs, discussing the difference between modalities in terms of biological and technical characteristics. RT dose and target volumes for different histologies (ACC versus non-ACC) have also been taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalOral Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Humans
  • Photons
  • Radiotherapy/methods
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms/radiotherapy
  • Postoperative radiotherapy
  • Carbon ion therapy
  • Malignant salivary gland cancers
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy
  • Particle beam therapy
  • Proton therapy
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Definitive radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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