Clinical study| Volume 75, P112-116, May 2020

Proton beam therapy utilization in adults with primary brain tumors in the United States

Published:March 14, 2020DOI:


      • There is an increase in patients with brain tumors treated with proton beam in the US.
      • High-grade glioma and medulloblastoma are among the most common histologies treated.
      • Most were 18–29 years old, Caucasian, privately insured, & at academic institutions.


      The utilization of proton beam therapy (PBT) as the primary treatment of adults with primary brain tumors (APBT) was evaluated through query of the National Cancer Database (NCDB) between the years 2004 and 2015. International Classification of Diseases for Oncology code for each patient was stratified into six histology categories; high-grade gliomas, medulloblastomas, ependymomas, other gliomas, other malignant tumors, or other benign intracranial tumors. Demographics of the treatment population were also analyzed. A total of 1,296 patients received PBT during the 11-year interval for treatment of their primary brain tumor. High-grade glioma, medulloblastoma, ependymoma, other glioma, other malignant, and other benign intracranial histologies made up 39%, 20%, 13%, 12%, 13%, and 2% of the cohort, respectively. The number of patients treated per year increased from 34 to 300 in years 2004 to 2015. Histologies treated with PBT varied over the 11-year interval with high-grade gliomas comprising 75% and 45% at years 2004 and 2015, respectively. The majority of the patient population was 18–29 years of age (59%), Caucasian race (73%), had median reported income of over $63,000 (46%), were privately insured (68%), and were treated at an academic institution (70%). This study characterizes trends of malignant and benign APBT histologies treated with PBT. Our data from 2004 through 2015 illustrates a marked increase in the utilization of PBT in the treatment of APBT and shows variability in the tumor histology treated over this time.

      Graphical abstract


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