WE-E-BRE-11: New Method to Simulate DNA Damage Using Ionization Cross-Sections and a Geometrical Nucleosome Model




To obtain probability distributions of various DNA damage types as a function of the incident electron kinetic energy.


Using Geant4-DNA electron ionization cross-sections, we calculated path length distributions for electrons of energies between 10 eV and 1 MeV, defined as the length between two subsequent interactions. These path lengths were then convolved with probability distributions for the creation of same-strand damage, opposite-strand damage, clustered damage, isolated damage, and same DNA strand target damage. These probability distributions of DNA damage were obtained by a Monte Carlo routine calculating probabilities of interaction in DNA targets inside a nucleosome geometrical model. Results represent the probability of a secondary electron, initially created inside a DNA strand target, of undergoing its next interaction: (1) in the opposite strand (DSB), (2) in the same strand (SSB+), (3) in either the opposite or same-strand (clustered), (4) in the same DNA target (multiple-hit) or (5) more than 10 base pairs away (isolated).


Electrons with kinetic energy between 50 and 250 eV have a maximal probability of creating DSB, SSB+, clustered damage and multiple-hits in the same target The probabilities for these damage patterns have values of 2.5%, 4.3%, 6.7% and 5.4%, respectively. Isolated damage is most probable between 700 eV to 900 eV with a probability of 0.2%.


We obtained DNA damage probability distributions as a function of electron incident energy. We showed that electrons with kinetic energies between 50 and 250 eV have the highest probability of producing complex forms of DNA damage (DSB, SSB+). We also showed that a double ionization within the same DNA target is the most frequent outcome occurring 5% of the time. It is expected that electron slowing down spectra can be convolved with our formalism to calculate source specific DNA damage patterns.

Research grants from governments of Canada and Quebec. PP acknowledges partial support by the CREATE Medical Physics Research Training Network grant of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Grant number: 432290)