Stories|Successful treatment of eye tumors

Successful treatment of eye tumors

Life Science and healthcare

Fighting cancer with a proton accelerator

Since 1998, eye tumours have been treated at HZB, in cooperation with Charité Berlin, by irradiating them with protons. More than 4,600 patients have already been treated in this way. The success speaks for itself: in over 96% of cases, the tumour was completely destroyed. For the most part, it was possible not only to save the eye, but also to maintain a satisfactory level of vision.

Cancer can also occur in and around the eye. Tumours are rare here, and very complex to deal with. Cutting them out generously is not an option; and one would like to preserve the patient’s vision. This is why such tumours call for special treatment at a specialised centre. Proton therapy has been used in Berlin for choroidal, iris and ciliary body melanomas since 1998. Specialists from the Department of Ophthalmology, the Department of Radiation Oncology and Radiotherapy, the Charité Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCCC) and the Helmholtz Centre Berlin HZB use the HZB’s proton accelerator at its Wannsee site, which is otherwise primarily used for research, to irradiate the eyes of cancer patients. This treatment of intraocular tumours has become a real success story. The systematic collaboration between medical physicists, radiotherapists and ophthalmologists has greatly improved the precision of the therapy. Today, eye cancer can be controlled in 96% of patients. In the majority of large tumours, it is possible to save not only the eye itself but also the patient’s vision, at least to a satisfactory degree.

This form of interdisciplinary collaboration and utilisation of a large-scale research facility is unique in Germany. Patients benefit from the collaboration of the best specialists in the field and from diagnostics and treatments based on the latest scientific findings. Because the partners involved in the project are at the forefront of research into tumour therapy.

Partners involved:

  • HZB
  • Charité Berlin


Prof. Dr. Andrea Denker

Head of Proton Therapy (HZB)



Further information about the technology and methodology?