SU-E-T-645: Dose Enhancement to Cell Nucleus Due to Hard Collisions of Protons with Electrons in Gold Nanospheres




The purpose of this study was to investigate the theoretical dose enhancement to a cell nucleus due to increased fluence of secondary electrons when gold nanospheres are present in the cytoplasm during proton therapy.


We modeled the irradiation of prostate cancer cells using protons of variable energies when 10,000 gold nanoparticles, each with radius of 10 nm, were randomly distributed in the cytoplasm. Using simple analytical equations, we calculated the increased mean dose to the cell nucleus due to secondary electrons produced by hard collisions of 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 MeV protons with orbital electrons in gold. We only counted electrons with kinetic energy higher than 1 keV. In addition to calculating the increase in the mean dose to the cell nucleus, we also calculated the increase in local dose in the “shadow,” i.e., the umbra, of individual gold nanospheres due to forward scattered electrons.


For proton energies of 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 MeV, we calculated increases to the mean nuclear dose of 0.15, 0.09, 0.05, and 0.04%, respectively. When we considered local dose increases in the shadows of individual gold spheres, we calculated local dose increases of 5.5, 3.2, 1.9, and 1.3%, respectively.


We found negligible, less than 0.2%, increases in the mean dose to the cell nucleus due to electrons produced by hard collisions of protons with electrons in gold nanospheres. However, we observed increases up to 5.5% in the local dose in the shadow of gold nanospheres. Considering the shadow radius of 10 nm, these local dose enhancements may have implications for slightly increased probability of clustered DNA damage when gold nanoparticles are close to the nuclear membrane.