Low-Z linac targets for low-MV gold nanoparticle radiation therapy




To investigate the potential of low-Z/low-MV (low-Z) linac targets for gold nanoparticle radiotherapy (GNPT) and to determine the microscopic dose enhancement ratio (DER) due to GNP for the alternative beamlines. In addition, to evaluate the degradation of dose enhancement arising from the increased attenuation of x rays and larger skin dose in water for the low-MV beams compared to the standard linac.


Monte Carlo simulations were used to compute dose and DER for various flattening-filter-free beams (2.5, 4, 6.5 MV). Target materials were beryllium, diamond, and tungsten-copper high-Z target. Target thicknesses were selected based on 20%, 60%, 70%, and 80% of the continuous slowing down approximation electron ranges for a given target material and energy. Evaluation of the microscopic DER was carried out for 100 nm GNP including the degradation factors due to beam attenuation.


The greatest increase in DER compared to the standard 6.5 MV linac was for a 2.5 MV Be-target (factor of ∼2). Skin dose ranged from ∼10% (Be, 6.5 MV-80%) to ∼85% (Be, 2.5 MV-20%) depending on the target case. Attenuation of 2.5 MV beams at 22 cm was higher by ∼75% compared with the standard beam. Taking into account the attenuation at 22 cm depth, the effective dose enhancement was up to ∼60% above the DER of the high-Z target. For these cases the effective DER ranged between ∼1.6 and 6 compared with the standard linac.


Low-Z (2.5 MV) GNPT is possible even after accounting for greater beam attenuation for deep-seated tumors (22 cm) and the increased skin dose. Further, it can lead to significant sparing of normal tissue while simultaneously escalating the dose in the tumor cells.