Microdosimetry of a therapeutic proton beam with a mini-TEPC and a MicroPlus-Bridge detector for RBE assessment

Valeria Conte, Stefano Agosteo, Anna Bianchi, David Bolst, Davide Bortot, R. Catalano, Pablo G.A. Cirrone, Paolo Colautti, G. Cuttone, S. Guatelli, James Bartz, Davide Mazzucconi, Anatoly Rosenfeld, Anna Selva, Lihn Tran, Giada Petringa

    Research outputpeer-review


    Proton beams are widely used worldwide to treat localized tumours, the lower entrance dose and no exit dose, thus sparing surrounding normal tissues, being the main advantage of this treatment modality compared to conventional photon techniques. Clinical proton beam therapy treatment planning is based on the use of a general relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of 1.1 along the whole beam penetration depth, without taking into account the documented increase in RBE at the end of the depth dose profile, in the Bragg peak and beyond. However, an inaccurate estimation of the RBE can cause both underdose or overdose, in particular it can cause the unfavourable situation of underdosing the tumour and overdosing the normal tissue just beyond the tumour, which limits the treatment success and increases the risk of complications. In view of a more precise dose delivery that takes into account the variation of RBE, experimental microdosimetry offers valuable tools for the quality assurance of LET or RBE-based treatment planning systems. The purpose of this work is to compare the response of two different microdosimetry systems: the mini-TEPC and the MicroPlus-Bridge detector. Microdosimetric spectra were measured across the 62 MeV spread out Bragg peak of CATANA with the mini-TEPC and with the Bridge microdosimeter. The frequency and dose distributions of lineal energy were compared and the different contributions to the spectra were analysed, discussing the effects of different site sizes and chord length distributions. The shape of the lineal energy distributions measured with the two detectors are markedly different, due to the different water-equivalent sizes of the sensitive volumes: 0.85 μm for the TEPC and 17.3 μm for the silicon detector. When the Loncol’s biological weighting function is applied to calculate the microdosimetric assessment of the RBE, both detectors lead to results that are consistent with biological survival data for glioma U87 cells. Both the mini-TEPC and the MicroPlus-Bridge detector can be used to assess the RBE variation of a 62 MeV modulated proton beam along its penetration depth. The microdosimetric assessment of the RBE based on the Loncol’s weighting function is in good agreement with radiobiological results when the 10% biological uncertainty is taken into account.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number245018
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
    Issue number24
    StatePublished - 9 Dec 2020

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