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Using the Proton Energy Spectrum and Microdosimetry to Model Proton Relative Biological Effectiveness

Newpower, Mark, Patel, Darshana, Bronk, Lawrence, Guan, Fada, Chaudhary, Pankaj, McMahon, Stephen J., Prise, Kevin M., Schettino, Giuseppe, Grosshans, David R. and Mohan, Radhe (2019) Using the Proton Energy Spectrum and Microdosimetry to Model Proton Relative Biological Effectiveness International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, 104 (2). pp. 316-324.

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We introduce a methodology to calculate the microdosimetric quantity dose-mean lineal energy for input into the microdosimetric kinetic model (MKM) to model the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of proton irradiation experiments.

Methods and Materials

The data from 7 individual proton RBE experiments were included in this study. In each experiment, the RBE at several points along the Bragg curve was measured. Monte Carlo simulations to calculate the lineal energy probability density function of 172 different proton energies were carried out with use of Geant4 DNA. We calculated the fluence-weighted lineal energy probability density function , based on the proton energy spectra calculated through Monte Carlo at each experimental depth, calculated the dose-mean lineal energy for input into the MKM, and then computed the RBE. The radius of the domain (rd) was varied to reach the best agreement between the MKM-predicted RBE and experimental RBE. A generic RBE model as a function of dose-averaged linear energy transfer (LETD) with 1 fitting parameter was presented and fit to the experimental RBE data as well to facilitate a comparison to the MKM.


Both the MKM and LETD-based models modeled the RBE from experiments well. Values for rd were similar to those of other cell lines under proton irradiation that were modeled with the MKM. Analysis of the performance of each model revealed that neither model was clearly superior to the other.


Our 3 key accomplishments include the following: (1) We developed a method that uses the proton energy spectra and lineal energy distributions of those protons to calculate dose-mean lineal energy. (2) We demonstrated that our application of the MKM provides theoretical validation of proton irradiation experiments that show that RBE is significantly greater than 1.1. (3) We showed that there is no clear evidence that the MKM is better than LETD-based RBE models.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Physics
Authors :
Newpower, Mark
Patel, Darshana
Bronk, Lawrence
Guan, Fada
Chaudhary, Pankaj
McMahon, Stephen J.
Prise, Kevin M.
Grosshans, David R.
Mohan, Radhe
Date : 1 June 2019
DOI : 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.01.094
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 24 Sep 2019 15:21
Last Modified : 17 Jun 2020 16:25

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