Spatial mapping of the biologic effectiveness of scanned particle beams: towards biologically optimized particle therapy.
ABSTRACT: The physical properties of particles used in radiation therapy, such as protons, have been well characterized, and their dose distributions are superior to photon-based treatments. However, proton therapy may also have inherent biologic advantages that have not been capitalized on. Unlike photon beams, the linear energy transfer (LET) and hence biologic effectiveness of particle beams varies along the beam path. Selective placement of areas of high effectiveness could enhance tumor cell kill and simultaneously spare normal tissues. However, previous methods for mapping spatial variations in biologic effectiveness are time-consuming and often yield inconsistent results with large uncertainties. Thus the data needed to accurately model relative biological effectiveness to guide novel treatment planning approaches are limited. We used Monte Carlo modeling and high-content automated clonogenic survival assays to spatially map the biologic effectiveness of scanned proton beams with high accuracy and throughput while minimizing biological uncertainties. We found that the relationship between cell kill, dose, and LET, is complex and non-unique. Measured biologic effects were substantially greater than in most previous reports, and non-linear surviving fraction response was observed even for the highest LET values. Extension of this approach could generate data needed to optimize proton therapy plans incorporating variable RBE.
Project description:The finite range of proton beams in tissues offers unique dosimetric advantages that theoretically allow the dose to the target to be escalated while minimizing exposure of surrounding tissues and thereby minimizing radiation-induced toxicity. These theoretical advantages have led to widespread adoption of proton therapy around the world for a wide variety of tumors at different anatomic sites. Many treatment-planning comparisons have shown that proton therapy has substantial dosimetric advantages over conventional photon (X-ray) radiation therapy. However, given the typically significant difference in cost between proton therapy versus conventional photon therapy, strong evidence of proton therapy's clinical benefits in terms of toxicity and survival is warranted. Some findings from retrospective studies, single-arm prospective studies, and a very few randomized clinical trials comparing these modalities are beginning to emerge. In this review, we examine the available data on proton therapy for (non-small cell lung cancer NSCLC). We begin by discussing the unique challenges involved in treating moving targets with significant tissue heterogeneity and the technologic efforts underway to overcome these challenges. We then discuss the rationale for minimizing normal tissue toxicity, particularly pulmonary, cardiac, and hematologic toxicity, within the context of previously unsuccessful attempts at dose escalation for lung cancer. Finally, we explore strategies for accelerating the development of trials aimed at measuring meaningful clinical endpoints and for maximizing the value of proton therapy by personalizing its use for individual patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Radiation therapy is a mainstay in the treatment of esophageal cancer (EC) patients, and photon radiotherapy has proved beneficial both in the neoadjuvant and the definitive setting. However, regarding the still poor prognosis of many EC patients, particle radiation employing a higher biological effectiveness may help to further improve patient outcomes. However, the influence of clinically available particle radiation on EC cells remains largely unknown. METHODS:Patient-derived esophageal adenocarcinoma and squamous cell cancer lines were treated with photon and particle irradiation using clinically available proton (1H), carbon (12C) or oxygen (16O) beams at the Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center. Histology-dependent clonogenic survival was calculated for increasing physical radiation doses, and resulting relative biological effectiveness (RBE) was calculated for each radiation modality. Cell cycle effects caused by photon and particle radiation were assessed, and radiation-induced apoptosis was measured in adenocarcinoma and squamous cell EC samples by activated caspase-3 and sub-G1 populations. Repair kinetics of DNA double strand breaks induced by photon and particle radiation were investigated. RESULTS:While both adenocarcinoma EC cell lines demonstrated increasing sensitivities for 1H, 12C and 16O radiation, the two squamous cell carcinoma lines exhibited a more heterogeneous response to photon and particle treatment; average RBE values were calculated as 1.15 for 1H, 2.3 for 12C and 2.5 for 16O irradiation. After particle irradiation, squamous cell EC samples reacted with an increased and prolonged block in G2 phase of the cell cycle compared to adenocarcinoma cells. Particle radiation resulted in an incomplete repair of radiation-induced DNA double strand breaks in both adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma samples, with the levels of initial strand break induction correlating well with the individual cellular survival after photon and particle radiation. Similarly, EC samples demonstrated heterogeneous levels of radiation-induced apoptosis that also corresponded to the observed cellular survival of individual cell lines. CONCLUSIONS:Esophageal cancer cells exhibit differential responses to irradiation with photons and 1H, 12C and 16O particles that were independent of tumor histology. Therefore, yet unknown molecular markers beyond histology may help to establish which esophageal cancer patients benefit from the biological effects of particle treatment.
Project description:Biological effect of radiation can be enhanced with hypofractionation, localized dose escalation, and, in particle therapy, with optimized distribution of linear energy transfer (LET). The authors describe a method to construct inhomogeneous fractional dose (IFD) distributions, and evaluate the potential gain in the therapeutic effect from their delivery in proton therapy delivered by pencil beam scanning.For 13 cases of prostate cancer, the authors considered hypofractionated courses of 60 Gy delivered in 20 fractions. (All doses denoted in Gy include the proton's mean relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of 1.1.) Two types of plans were optimized using two opposed lateral beams to deliver a uniform dose of 3 Gy per fraction to the target by scanning: (1) in conventional full-target plans (FTP), each beam irradiated the entire gland, (2) in split-target plans (STP), beams irradiated only the respective proximal hemispheres (prostate split sagittally). Inverse planning yielded intensity maps, in which discrete position control points of the scanned beam (spots) were assigned optimized intensity values. FTP plans preferentially required a higher intensity of spots in the distal part of the target, while STP, by design, employed proximal spots. To evaluate the utility of IFD delivery, IFD plans were generated by rearranging the spot intensities from FTP or STP intensity maps, separately as well as combined using a variety of mixing weights. IFD courses were designed so that, in alternating fractions, one of the hemispheres of the prostate would receive a dose boost and the other receive a lower dose, while the total physical dose from the IFD course was roughly uniform across the prostate. IFD plans were normalized so that the equivalent uniform dose (EUD) of rectum and bladder did not increase, compared to the baseline FTP plan, which irradiated the prostate uniformly in every fraction. An EUD-based model was then applied to estimate tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP). To assess potential local RBE variations, LET distributions were calculated with Monte Carlo, and compared for different plans. The results were assessed in terms of their sensitivity to uncertainties in model parameters and delivery.IFD courses included equal number of fractions boosting either hemisphere, thus, the combined physical dose was close to uniform throughout the prostate. However, for the entire course, the prostate EUD in IFD was higher than in conventional FTP by up to 14%, corresponding to the estimated increase in TCP to 96% from 88%. The extent of gain depended on the mixing factor, i.e., relative weights used to combine FTP and STP spot weights. Increased weighting of STP typically yielded a higher target EUD, but also led to increased sensitivity of dose to variations in the proton's range. Rectal and bladder EUD were same or lower (per normalization), and the NTCP for both remained below 1%. The LET distributions in IFD also depended strongly on the mixing weights: plans using higher weight of STP spots yielded higher LET, indicating a potentially higher local RBE.In proton therapy delivered by pencil beam scanning, improved therapeutic outcome can potentially be expected with delivery of IFD distributions, while administering the prescribed quasi-uniform dose to the target over the entire course. The biological effectiveness of IFD may be further enhanced by optimizing the LET distributions. IFD distributions are characterized by a dose gradient located in proximity of the prostate's midplane, thus, the fidelity of delivery would depend crucially on the precision with which the proton range could be controlled.
Project description:Beam tracking with scanned carbon ion radiotherapy achieves highly conformal target dose by steering carbon pencil beams to follow moving tumors using real-time magnetic deflection and range modulation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the robustness of target dose coverage from beam tracking in light of positional uncertainties of moving targets and beams. To accomplish this, we simulated beam tracking for moving targets in both water phantoms and a sample of lung cancer patients using a research treatment planning system. We modeled various deviations from perfect tracking that could arise due to uncertainty in organ motion and limited precision of a scanned ion beam tracking system. We also investigated the effects of interfractional changes in organ motion on target dose coverage by simulating a complete course of treatment using serial (weekly) 4DCTs from six lung cancer patients. For perfect tracking of moving targets, we found that target dose coverage was high ([Formula: see text] was 94.8% for phantoms and 94.3% for lung cancer patients, respectively) but sensitive to changes in the phase of respiration at the start of treatment and to the respiratory period. Phase delays in tracking the moving targets led to large degradation of target dose coverage (up to 22% drop for a 15° delay). Sensitivity to technical uncertainties in beam tracking delivery was minimal for a lung cancer case. However, interfractional changes in anatomy and organ motion led to large decreases in target dose coverage (target coverage dropped approximately 8% due to anatomy and motion changes after 1?week). Our findings provide a better understand of the importance of each of these uncertainties for beam tracking with scanned carbon ion therapy and can be used to inform the design of future scanned ion beam tracking systems.
Project description:The distal edge tracking (DET) technique in intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) allows for high energy efficiency, fast and simple delivery, and simple inverse treatment planning; however, it is highly sensitive to uncertainties. In this study, the authors explored the application of DET in IMPT (IMPT-DET) and conducted robust optimization of IMPT-DET to see if the planning technique's sensitivity to uncertainties was reduced. They also compared conventional and robust optimization of IMPT-DET with three-dimensional IMPT (IMPT-3D) to gain understanding about how plan robustness is achieved.They compared the robustness of IMPT-DET and IMPT-3D plans to uncertainties by analyzing plans created for a typical prostate cancer case and a base of skull (BOS) cancer case (using data for patients who had undergone proton therapy at our institution). Spots with the highest and second highest energy layers were chosen so that the Bragg peak would be at the distal edge of the targets in IMPT-DET using 36 equally spaced angle beams; in IMPT-3D, 3 beams with angles chosen by a beam angle optimization algorithm were planned. Dose contributions for a number of range and setup uncertainties were calculated, and a worst-case robust optimization was performed. A robust quantification technique was used to evaluate the plans' sensitivity to uncertainties.With no uncertainties considered, the DET is less robust to uncertainties than is the 3D method but offers better normal tissue protection. With robust optimization to account for range and setup uncertainties, robust optimization can improve the robustness of IMPT plans to uncertainties; however, our findings show the extent of improvement varies.IMPT's sensitivity to uncertainties can be improved by using robust optimization. They found two possible mechanisms that made improvements possible: (1) a localized single-field uniform dose distribution (LSFUD) mechanism, in which the optimization algorithm attempts to produce a single-field uniform dose distribution while minimizing the patching field as much as possible; and (2) perturbed dose distribution, which follows the change in anatomical geometry. Multiple-instance optimization has more knowledge of the influence matrices; this greater knowledge improves IMPT plans' ability to retain robustness despite the presence of uncertainties.
Project description:Chordomas of the skull base are relative rare lesions of the bones. Surgical resection is the primary treatment standard, though complete resection is nearly impossible due to close proximity to critical and hence also dose limiting organs for radiation therapy. Level of recurrence after surgery alone is comparatively high, so adjuvant radiation therapy is very important for the improvement of local control rates. Proton therapy is the gold standard in the treatment of skull base chordomas. However, high-LET beams such as carbon ions theoretically offer biologic advantages by enhanced biologic effectiveness in slow-growing tumors.This clinical study is a prospective randomised phase III trial. The trial will be carried out at Heidelberger Ionenstrahl-Therapie centre (HIT) and is a monocentric study.Patients with skull base chordoma will be randomised to either proton or carbon ion radiation therapy. As a standard, patients will undergo non-invasive, rigid immobilization and target volume delineation will be carried out based on CT and MRI data. The biologically isoeffective target dose to the PTV in carbon ion treatment (accelerated dose) will be 63 Gy E ± 5% and 72 Gy E ± 5% (standard dose) in proton therapy respectively. Local-progression free survival (LPFS) will be analysed as primary end point. Toxicity and overall survival are the secondary end points. Additional examined parameters are patterns of recurrence, prognostic factors and plan quality analysis.Up until now it was impossible to compare two different particle therapies, i.e. protons and carbon ions directly at the same facility.The aim of this study is to find out, whether the biological advantages of carbon ion therapy can also be clinically confirmed and translated into the better local control rates in the treatment of skull base chordomas.ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01182779.
Project description:Neutron therapy was developed from neutron radiobiology experiments, and had identified a higher cell kill per unit dose and an accompanying reduction in oxygen dependency. But experts such as Hal Gray were sceptical about clinical applications, for good reasons. Gray knew that the increase in relative biological effectiveness (RBE) with dose fall-off could produce marked clinical limitations. After many years of research, this treatment did not produce the expected gains in tumour control relative to normal tissue toxicity, as predicted by Gray. More detailed reasons for this are discussed in this paper. Neutrons do not have Bragg peaks and so did not selectively spare many tissues from radiation exposure; the constant neutron RBE tumour prescription values did not represent the probable higher RBE values in late-reacting tissues with low ?/? values; the inevitable increase in RBE as dose falls along a beam would also contribute to greater toxicity than in a similar megavoltage photon beam. Some tissues such as the central nervous system white matter had the highest RBEs partly because of the higher percentage hydrogen content in lipid-containing molecules. All the above factors contributed to disappointing clinical results found in a series of randomised controlled studies at many treatment centres, although at the time they were performed, neutron therapy was in a catch-up phase with photon-based treatments. Their findings are summarised along with their technical aspects and fractionation choices. Better understanding of fast neutron experiments and therapy has been gained through relatively simple mathematical models-using the biological effective dose concept and incorporating the RBEmax and RBEmin parameters (the limits of RBE at low and high dose, respectively-as shown in the Appendix). The RBE itself can then vary between these limits according to the dose per fraction used. These approaches provide useful insights into the problems that can occur in proton and ion beam therapy and how they may be optimised. This is because neutron ionisations in living tissues are mainly caused by recoil protons of energy proportional to the neutron energy: these are close to the proton energies that occur close to the Bragg peak region. To some extent, neutron RBE studies contain the highest RBE ranges found within proton and ion beams near Bragg peaks. In retrospect, neutrons were a useful radiobiological tool that has continued to inform the scientific and clinical community about the essential radiobiological principles of all forms of high linear energy transfer therapy. Neutron radiobiology and its implications should be taught on training courses and studied closely by clinicians, physicists, and biologists engaged in particle beam therapies.
Project description:For decades, singular beams carrying angular momentum have been a topic of considerable interest. Their intriguing applications are ubiquitous in a variety of fields, ranging from optical manipulation to photon entanglement, and from microscopy and coronagraphy to free-space communications, detection of rotating black holes, and even relativistic electrons and strong-field physics. In most applications, however, singular beams travel naturally along a straight line, expanding during linear propagation or breaking up in nonlinear media. Here, we design and demonstrate diffraction-resisting singular beams that travel along arbitrary trajectories in space. These curved beams not only maintain an invariant dark "hole" in the center but also preserve their angular momentum, exhibiting combined features of optical vortex, Bessel, and Airy beams. Furthermore, we observe three-dimensional spiraling of microparticles driven by such fine-shaped dynamical beams. Our findings may open up new avenues for shaped light in various applications.
Project description:The study aims to perform joint estimation of the risk of recurrence caused by inadequate radiation dose coverage of lymph node targets and the risk of cardiac toxicity caused by radiation exposure to the heart. Delivered photon plans are compared with realistic proton plans, thereby providing evidence-based estimates of the heterogeneity of treatment effects in consecutive cases for the 2 radiation treatment modalities.Forty-one patients referred for postlumpectomy comprehensive nodal photon irradiation for left-sided breast cancer were included. Comparative proton plans were optimized by a spot scanning technique with single-field optimization from 2 en face beams. Cardiotoxicity risk was estimated with the model of Darby et al, and risk of recurrence following a compromise of lymph node coverage was estimated by a linear dose-response model fitted to the recurrence data from the recently published EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer) 22922/10925 and NCIC-CTG (National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group) MA.20 randomized controlled trials.Excess absolute risk of cardiac morbidity was small with photon therapy at an attained age of 80 years, with median values of 1.0% (range, 0.2%-2.9%) and 0.5% (range, 0.03%-1.0%) with and without cardiac risk factors, respectively, but even lower with proton therapy (0.13% [range, 0.02%-0.5%] and 0.06% [range, 0.004%-0.3%], respectively). The median estimated excess absolute risk of breast cancer recurrence after 10 years was 0.10% (range, 0.0%-0.9%) with photons and 0.02% (range, 0.0%-0.07%) with protons. The association between age of the patient and benefit from proton therapy was weak, almost non-existing (Spearman rank correlations of -0.15 and -0.30 with and without cardiac risk factors, respectively).Modern photon therapy yields limited risk of cardiac toxicity in most patients, but proton therapy can reduce the predicted risk of cardiac toxicity by up to 2.9% and the risk of breast cancer recurrence by 0.9% in individual patients. Predicted benefit correlates weakly with age. Combined assessment of the risk from cardiac exposure and inadequate target coverage is desirable for rational consideration of competing photon and proton therapy plans.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Laser acceleration of protons and heavy ions may in the future be used in radiation therapy. Laser-driven particle beams are pulsed and ultra high dose rates of >10? Gy s?¹ may be achieved. Here we compare the radiobiological effects of pulsed and continuous proton beams. METHODS: The ion microbeam SNAKE at the Munich tandem accelerator was used to directly compare a pulsed and a continuous 20 MeV proton beam, which delivered a dose of 3 Gy to a HeLa cell monolayer within < 1 ns or 100 ms, respectively. Investigated endpoints were G2 phase cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and colony formation. RESULTS: At 10 h after pulsed irradiation, the fraction of G2 cells was significantly lower than after irradiation with the continuous beam, while all other endpoints including colony formation were not significantly different. We determined the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) for pulsed and continuous proton beams relative to x-irradiation as 0.91 ± 0.26 and 0.86 ± 0.33 (mean and SD), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: At the dose rates investigated here, which are expected to correspond to those in radiation therapy using laser-driven particles, the RBE of the pulsed and the (conventional) continuous irradiation mode do not differ significantly.