Radiation Oncology: towards a mission-oriented approach

A thematic issue in Molecular Oncology discusses recent developments and future directions in radiation oncology in Europe and beyond.
Radiation Oncology: towards a mission-oriented approach

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Radiation oncology is a key part of cancer treatment. With cancer posing a major health risk and the global cancer incidence rate expected to almost double in the next two decades, the importance of radiation therapy will continue to grow. Radiation oncology will be shaped by oncoming advances in medicine, including early and lower‐cost detection methods, integrated multidisciplinary approaches, personalized medical strategies, and cancer prevention. In addition, radiation oncology will be influenced by future societal changes, including the establishment of more efficient, value‐based healthcare systems, and, importantly, extended European and global cooperation in research and care for the fight against disease.


A European mission-oriented cancer approach must consider the needs of tomorrow’s aging population, as well as the diversity of healthcare systems in Europe. This is only possible if all research areas are brought together in a symbiotic environment, enabling radiation oncology to cure and slow down tumor growth and combat comorbidities[1].


We hope that you enjoy reading the reviews of this thematic issue, which discuss, among other topics: the standing of radiation oncology in modern multidisciplinary cancer treatment[2]; provision and use of radiotherapy[3] and particle therapy[4] in Europe; the role of technology-driven research[5] and data science[6]in advancing radiation oncology; radiotherapy combinations with image guidance[7], immunotherapy[8] and targeted therapies[9], [10]; prevention and treatment of side effects[11]; and the importance of empowering patients in decision making[12].


For a deeper understanding we invite you to read the full editorial[13], and, of course, also the review articles listed below.


[1] Baumann M, Ebert N, Kurth I, Bacchus C and Overgaard J (2020) What will radiation oncology look like in 2050? A look at a changing professional landscape in Europe and beyond. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1577-1585

[2] Valentini V, Boldrini L, Mariani S, Massaccesi M (2020) Role of radiation oncology in modern multidisciplinary cancer treatment. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1431-1441

[3] Lievens Y, Borras JM, Grau C (2020) Provision and use of radiotherapy in Europe. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1461-1469

[4] Grau C, Durante M, Georg D, Langendijk JA and WeberDC (2020) Particle therapy in Europe. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1492-1499

[5] Fiorino C, Guckenberger M, Schwarz M, van der Heide UA and Heijmen B (2020) Technology‐driven research for radiotherapy innovation. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1500-1513

[6] Vogelius IR, Petersen J and Bentzen SM (2020) Harnessing data science to advance radiation oncology. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1514-1528

[7] Grégoire V, Guckenberger M, Haustermans K, Lagendijk JJW, Ménard C, Pötter R, Slotman BJ, Tanderup K, Thorwarth D, van Herk M, Zips D (2020) Image guidance in radiation therapy for better cure of cancer. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1470-1491

[8] Mondini M, Levy A, Meziani L, Milliat F and Deutsch E (2020) Radiotherapy–immunotherapy combinations – perspectives and challenges. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1529-1537

[9]Lieverse RIY, Marcus M, van der Wiel AMA, Van Limbergen EJ, Theys J, Yaromina A, Lambin P and Dubois LJ (2020) Human fibronectin extra domain B as a biomarker for targeted therapy in cancer. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1555-1568

[10] Krause M, Alsner J, Linge A, Bütof R, Löck S and Bristow R (2020) Specific requirements for translation of biological research into clinical radiation oncology. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1569-1576

[11] Lara Barazzuol L, Coppes RP and van Luijk P (2020) Prevention and treatment of radiotherapy‐induced side effects. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1538-1554

[12] Leech M, Katz MS, Kazmierska J, McCrossin J and Turner S (2020) Empowering patients in decision‐making in radiation oncology – can we do better? Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1442-1460

[13] Baumann M and Bacchus C (2020) Radiation Oncology – Towards a mission‐oriented approach to cancer. Molecular Oncology, 14(7): 1429-1430

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