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  • Author: Małgorzata Skórska x
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Measurements of doses from photon beam irradiation and scattered neutrons in an anthropomorphic phantom model of prostate cancer: a comparison between 3DCRT, IMRT and tomotherapy


Introduction. The rapid development of new radiotherapy technologies, such as intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) or tomotherapy, has resulted in the capacity to deliver a more homogenous dose in the target. However, the higher doses associated with these techniques are a reason for concern because they may increase the dose outside the target. In the present study, we compared 3DCRT, IMRT and tomotherapy to assess the doses to organs at risk (OARs) resulting from photon beam irradiation and scattered neutrons.

Material and methods. The doses to OARs outside the target were measured in an anthropomorphic Alderson phantom using thermoluminescence detectors (TLD 100) 6Li (7.5%) and 7Li (92.5%). The neutron fluence rate [cm−2·s−1] at chosen points inside the phantom was measured with gold foils (0.5 cm diameter, mean surface density of 0.108 g/cm3).

Results. The doses [Gy] delivered to the OARs for 3DCRT, IMRT and tomotherapy respectively, were as follows: thyroid gland (0.62 ± 0.001 vs. 2.88 ± 0.004 vs. 0.58 ± 0.003); lung (0.99 ± 0.003 vs. 4.78 ± 0.006 vs. 0.67 ± 0.003); bladder (80.61 ± 0.054 vs. 53.75 ± 0.070 vs. 34.71 ± 0.059); and testes (4.38 ± 0.017 vs. 6.48 ± 0.013 vs. 4.39 ± 0.020). The neutron dose from 20 MV X-ray beam accounted for 0.5% of the therapeutic dose prescribed in the PTV. The further from the field edge the higher the contribution of this secondary radiation dose (from 8% to ~45%).

Conclusion. For tomotherapy, all OARs outside the therapeutic field are well-spared. In contrast, IMRT achieved better sparing than 3DCRT only in the bladder. The photoneutron dose from the use of high-energy X-ray beam constituted a notable portion (0.5%) of the therapeutic dose prescribed to the PTV.

Open access
Carcinogenesis induced by low-dose radiation



Although the effects of high dose radiation on human cells and tissues are relatively well defined, there is no consensus regarding the effects of low and very low radiation doses on the organism. Ionizing radiation has been shown to induce gene mutations and chromosome aberrations which are known to be involved in the process of carcinogenesis. The induction of secondary cancers is a challenging long-term side effect in oncologic patients treated with radiation. Medical sources of radiation like intensity modulated radiotherapy used in cancer treatment and computed tomography used in diagnostics, deliver very low doses of radiation to large volumes of healthy tissue, which might contribute to increased cancer rates in long surviving patients and in the general population. Research shows that because of the phenomena characteristic for low dose radiation the risk of cancer induction from exposure of healthy tissues to low dose radiation can be greater than the risk calculated from linear no-threshold model. Epidemiological data collected from radiation workers and atomic bomb survivors confirms that exposure to low dose radiation can contribute to increased cancer risk and also that the risk might correlate with the age at exposure.


Understanding the molecular mechanisms of response to low dose radiation is crucial for the proper evaluation of risks and benefits that stem from these exposures and should be considered in the radiotherapy treatment planning and in determining the allowed occupational exposures.

Open access