Optimization of boron determination with ICP-MS for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) studies in vitro: Masterproef ingediend tot het bekomen van de graad van Master in de Chemie

Bart Verlinden, Karen Van Hoecke, An Aerts, Mireille Gysemans

    Research output

    998 Downloads (Pure)


    Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is a cancer treatment under development. In this type of therapy, a nuclear reaction is employed to kill cancer cells. When boron-10 is irradiated with thermal neutrons, highly reactive alpha particles and lithium-7 nuclei are produced, both having a very short path length. When boron-10 is selectively internalized into malignant cells, the reactive nuclei will selectively kill the malignant cells after irradiation with thermal neutrons. Research into development of new and more efficient boron-containing compounds is an important aspect of state-of-the-art innovation in this field. Evaluation of new BNCT boron carrier compounds involves in vitro experiments. The aim of this research is the development of a method for the determination of boron in cells exposed to boron-containing molecules in vitro. For the quantitative determination of boron, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used. Prior to ICP-MS analysis, cells had to be digested in such a way to completely remove the carbon matrix, fully recover boron and prevent contamination with boron from external sources. A final optimized sample preparation method for cell cultured combined closed vessel hotplate-assisted acid digestion and UV digestion. In this way, low carbon contents (< LOD, 5 mg/L), low detection limits for boron (0.4 µg/L) and full boron recoveries (100 %) could be obtained. Employing this method, it was possible to quantitatively determine associated boron in cells after exposure to two BNCT compounds. The most efficient compound, L-BPA (4-borono-L-phenylalanine), resulted in an uptake of 1.26 ± 0.10 x 109 boron atoms/cell.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationMaster of Science
    Awarding Institution
    • UA - Universiteit Antwerpen
    • Janssens, Koen, Supervisor, External person
    • Gysemans, Mireille, SCK CEN Mentor
    • Aerts, An, SCK CEN Mentor
    • Van Hoecke, Karen, SCK CEN Mentor
    • Daems, Noami, Advisor
    Date of Award4 Jul 2017
    StatePublished - 30 Jun 2017

    Cite this