Gastrointestinal Cancers

Proton Therapy for Gastrointestinal Cancers

Gastrointestinal (GI) tumors can occur anywhere along the GI tract. Gastrointestinal cancers include:

  • Esophageal
  • Stomach
  • Pancreatic
  • Liver
  • Rectal
  • Anal canal

For each of these cancers, multiple factors will determine the type of treatment that is likely to be most effective. Typically treatment involves a combination of approaches, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Proton therapy offers patients with GI tumors the possibility of limiting the radiation exposure to nearby healthy organs—and limiting side effects. Among the additional potential benefits are: the ability to apply higher dosages to the tumor with better clinical control; and the possibility of a shortened course of radiation treatment—in some cases, weeks shorter than the standard radiotherapy course. This can be a compelling factor for patients living outside of Seattle who have to travel some distance for treatment.

Ground-breaking Tools and Clinical Studies

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), we are bringing diagnostic and treatment innovations in gastrointestinal cancers, including proton therapy, to patients at an extraordinary rate. One example of milestone-setting treatment at SCCA concerns pancreatic cancer. SCCA’s Sunil R. Hingorani, MD, PhD, is leading a clinical trial that is exploring the use of an enzyme called PEGPH20 to penetrate pancreatic tumors’ innate defenses against chemotherapy.

Start here to learn more about our multidisciplinary approach to treating gastrointestinal cancers and our community of dedicated specialist doctors and researchers.