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Charite University Hospital Berlin

Center for Proton Therapy BerlinProtonen (253171)

Andrea Denker

Dr. rer. nat.

Andrea Denker

Specialized in: proton therapy

About the department

The Center for Proton Therapy BerlinProtonen at the Charite University Hospital Berlin offers advanced proton therapy for the treatment of benign and malignant eye tumors. The Director of the center is Dr. rer. nat. Andrea Denker.

Since 1998, the department has successfully used proton therapy for the treatment of neoplasms of the choroid, iris and ciliary body. Thanks to the highly effective treatment of intraocular tumors, the center has gained an excellent reputation in the European medical arena. Over the years of the center’s clinical practice, the coordinated and productive work of medical physicists, radiation therapists and ophthalmologists has improved the accuracy and efficiency of proton therapy. As of today, innovative proton therapy helps to control tumor growth and maintain the functionality of the affected eye in 96% of patients.

Before carrying out proton therapy, doctors conduct the comprehensive diagnostics, which gives them a complete picture of the eye state and allows them to plan treatment as accurately as possible. Since choroidal melanomas can form distant metastases, primarily in the liver, the patient may need additional examinations in order to identify them.

The doctors have to detect the exact tumor location for targeted proton irradiation. In order to do this, four (in rare cases more) markers made of tantalum are placed on the surface of the orbit. This procedure is called clipping and lasts about 45 minutes (it is performed under general anesthesia). The markers with a diameter of about 2.5 mm remain in the eye after proton therapy completion. They do not cause inconvenience to the patient and they are clearly visible on X-rays or MRI.

In the course of сomputer-aided process planning, an eye model of a particular patient with a tumor is created. In order to do this, the doctors use high-resolution CT data, which is performed after clipping procedure. Additional ultrasound examinations may also be performed. In rare cases (for example, in large tumors), high-resolution MRI can be performed.

An important advantage of proton irradiation is the characteristic exposure of energy to the tissues (Bragg-Peak), which allows to achieve the most accurate irradiation of the tumor with the preservation of adjacent organs and tissues. The center is equipped with a device for emission of a proton beam with an energy of 68 MeV, which can penetrate into the body to a depth of about 30 mm. This energy is ideal for the treatment of intraocular tumors. Malignant choroidal melanomas are primarily irradiated. They are divided into choroidal melanomas or ciliary body melanomas and iris melanomas. In addition, proton therapy can be used to treat other tumors, such as conjunctival melanoma, hemangioma, and retinoblastoma.

Proton therapy is an effective treatment method for the following eye tumors:

  • Choroidal melanoma
  • Ciliary body melanoma
  • Iris melanoma
  • Other tumors
    • Ocular mucosal melanoma
    • Hemangiomas
    • Retinoblastomas
  • Other eye diseases

Center for Proton Therapy BerlinProtonen.
Charite University Hospital Berlin:

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