Assessment of fluence- and dose-averaged linear energy transfer with passive luminescence detectors in clinical proton beams

Iván Domingo Muñoz, Olivier Van Hoey, Alessio Parisi, Niels Bassler, Leszek Grzanka, Marijke De Saint-Hubert, Ana Vaniqui, Pawel Olko, Michal Sadel, Liliana Stolarczyk, Anne Vestergaard, Oliver Jaekel, Eduardo G. Yukihara, Jeppe Brage Christensen

Research outputpeer-review


Objective.This work investigates the use of passive luminescence detectors to determine different types of averaged linear energy transfer (LET-) for the energies relevant to proton therapy. The experimental results are compared to reference values obtained from Monte Carlo simulations.Approach.Optically stimulated luminescence detectors (OSLDs), fluorescent nuclear track detectors (FNTDs), and two different groups of thermoluminescence detectors (TLDs) were irradiated at four different radiation qualities. For each irradiation, the fluence- (LET-f) and dose-averaged LET (LET-d) were determined. For both quantities, two sub-types of averages were calculated, either considering the contributions from primary and secondary protons or from all protons and heavier, charged particles. Both simulated and experimental data were used in combination with a phenomenological model to estimate the relative biological effectiveness (RBE).Main results.All types ofLET-could be assessed with the luminescence detectors. The experimental determination ofLET-fis in agreement with reference data obtained from simulations across all measurement techniques and types of averaging. On the other hand,LET-dcan present challenges as a radiation quality metric to describe the detector response in mixed particle fields. However, excluding secondaries heavier than protons from theLET-dcalculation, as their contribution to the luminescence is suppressed by ionization quenching, leads to equal accuracy betweenLET-fandLET-d. Assessment of RBE through the experimentally determinedLET-dvalues agrees with independently acquired reference values, indicating that the investigated detectors can determineLET-with sufficient accuracy for proton therapy.Significance.OSLDs, TLDs, and FNTDs can be used to determineLET-and RBE in proton therapy. With the capability to determine dose through ionization quenching corrections derived fromLET-, OSLDs and TLDs can simultaneously ascertain dose,LET-, and RBE. This makes passive detectors appealing for measurements in phantoms to facilitate validation of clinical treatment plans or experiments related to proton therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalPhysics in Medicine & Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this