Accelerators for Heavy-charged-particle Radiation Therapy

Department of Radiation Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center, 11234 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA.
Technology in cancer research & treatment (Impact Factor: 1.73). 09/2007; 6(4 Suppl):49-54. DOI: 10.1177/15330346070060S408
Source: PubMed


This paper focuses on current and future designs of medical hadron accelerators for treating cancers and other diseases. Presently, five vendors and several national laboratories have produced heavy-particle medical accelerators for accelerating nuclei from hydrogen (protons) up through carbon and oxygen. Particle energies are varied to control the beam penetration depth in the patient. As of the end of 2006, four hospitals and one clinic in the United States offer proton treatments; there are five more such facilities in Japan. In most cases, these facilities use accelerators designed explicitly for cancer treatments. The accelerator types are a combination of synchrotrons, cyclotrons, and linear accelerators; some carry advanced features such as respiration gating, intensity modulation, and rapid energy changes, which contribute to better dose conformity on the tumor when using heavy charged particles. Recent interest in carbon nuclei for cancer treatment has led some vendors to offer carbon-ion and proton capability in their accelerator systems, so that either ion can be used. These features are now being incorporated for medical accelerators in new facilities.

4 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several compact proton accelerator systems for use in proton therapy have recently been proposed. Of paramount importance to the development of such an accelerator system is the maximum kinetic energy of protons, immediately prior to entry into the patient, that must be reached by the treatment system. The commonly used value for the maximum kinetic energy required for a medical proton accelerator is 250 MeV, but it has not been demonstrated that this energy is indeed necessary to treat all or most patients eligible for proton therapy. This article quantifies the maximum kinetic energy of protons, immediately prior to entry into the patient, necessary to treat a given percentage of patients with rotational proton therapy, and examines the impact of this energy threshold on the cost and feasibility of a compact, gantry-mounted proton accelerator treatment system. One hundred randomized treatment plans from patients treated with IMRT were analyzed. The maximum radiological pathlength from the surface of the patient to the distal edge of the treatment volume was obtained for 180 degrees continuous arc proton therapy and for 180 degrees split arc proton therapy (two 90 degrees arcs) using CT# profiles from the Pinnacle (Philips Medical Systems, Madison, WI) treatment planning system. In each case, the maximum kinetic energy of protons, immediately prior to entry into the patient, that would be necessary to treat the patient was calculated using proton range tables for various media. In addition, Monte Carlo simulations were performed to quantify neutron production in a water phantom representing a patient as a function of the maximum proton kinetic energy achievable by a proton treatment system. Protons with a kinetic energy of 240 MeV, immediately prior to entry into the patient, were needed to treat 100% of patients in this study. However, it was shown that 90% of patients could be treated at 198 MeV, and 95% of patients could be treated at 207 MeV. Decreasing the proton kinetic energy from 250 to 200 MeV decreases the total neutron energy fluence produced by stopping a monoenergetic pencil beam in a water phantom by a factor of 2.3. It is possible to significantly lower the requirements on the maximum kinetic energy of a compact proton accelerator if the ability to treat a small percentage of patients with rotational therapy is sacrificed. This decrease in maximum kinetic energy, along with the corresponding decrease in neutron production, could lower the cost and ease the engineering constraints on a compact proton accelerator treatment facility.
    Medical Physics 03/2009; 36(2):364-72. DOI:10.1118/1.3049787 · 2.64 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The physics of proton therapy has advanced considerably since it was proposed in 1946. Today analytical equations and numerical simulation methods are available to predict and characterize many aspects of proton therapy. This article reviews the basic aspects of the physics of proton therapy, including proton interaction mechanisms, proton transport calculations, the determination of dose from therapeutic and stray radiations, and shielding design. The article discusses underlying processes as well as selected practical experimental and theoretical methods. We conclude by briefly speculating on possible future areas of research of relevance to the physics of proton therapy.
    Physics in Medicine and Biology 03/2015; 60(8):R155-R209. DOI:10.1088/0031-9155/60/8/R155 · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Proton radiation therapy is an effective modality for cancer treatments, but the cost of proton therapy is much higher compared to conventional radiotherapy and this presents a formidable barrier to most clinical practices that wish to offer proton therapy. Little attention in literature has been paid to the costs associated with collimators, range compensators and hypofractionation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of cost-saving modifications to the present standard of care for proton treatments for prostate cancer. In particular, we quantified the dosimetric impact of a treatment technique in which custom fabricated collimators were replaced with a multileaf collimator (MLC) and the custom range compensators (RC) were eliminated. The dosimetric impacts of these modifications were assessed for 10 patients with a commercial treatment planning system (TPS) and confirmed with corresponding Monte Carlo simulations. We assessed the impact on lifetime risks of radiogenic second cancers using detailed dose reconstructions and predictive dose-risk models based on epidemiologic data. We also performed illustrative calculations, using an isoeffect model, to examine the potential for hypofractionation. Specifically, we bracketed plausible intervals of proton fraction size and total treatment dose that were equivalent to a conventional photon treatment of 79.2 Gy in 44 fractions. Our results revealed that eliminating the RC and using an MLC had negligible effect on predicted dose distributions and second cancer risks. Even modest hypofractionation strategies can yield substantial cost savings. Together, our results suggest that it is feasible to modify the standard of care to increase treatment efficiency, reduce treatment costs to patients and insurers, while preserving high treatment quality.
    Cancers 06/2015; 7(2):688-705. DOI:10.3390/cancers7020688

Similar Publications