the characteristics of radiation formed by heavy particles make it a highly useful tool for therapeutic use. protons, helium nuclei or carbon ions are being successfully employed in radiotherapy installations throughout the world. this article sets out the physical and technological foundations that make these radiation particles suitable for attacking white volume, as well as the different ways of administering treatment. next, the main clinical applications are described, which show the therapeutic advantages in some of the pathologies most widely employed in proton and hadrontherapy centres at present. under continuous study, the clinical use of heavy particles appears to be an enormously promising path of advance in comparison with classical technologies, both in tumour coverage and in reducing dosages in surrounding tissue.