Scientists have developed a more successful radiation therapy for patients with cancer of the head and neck, a prospective clinical study suggests.
Researchers from Helsinki University Hospital in Finland studied 12 patients with cancer of the head-and-neck that had recurred locally after surgery and conventional radiation therapy.
Ten out of the 12 patients had substantial tumour shrinkage following boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) and in seven cases the tumour disappeared completely.
Adverse effects were moderate and comparable to those of conventional radiation therapy.
BNCT involves targeting boron atoms, which split within the cancerous tissue. The resulting smaller particles generate a large radiation effect that destroys cancer cells.
The technique, which spares the adjacent normal tissues from the highest doses of radiation, is still considered to be experimental.
Professor Heikki Joensuu said: "Our plan is to investigate BNCT in the treatment of cancers located elsewhere in the body that cannot be effectively managed by any known treatment."