Future development of biologically relevant dosimetry

H. Palmans, H. Rabus, A.L. Belchior, M.U. Bug, S. Galer, U. Giesen, G. Gonon, G. Gruel, G. Hilgers, D. Moro, H. Nettelbeck, M. Pinto, A. Pola, S. Pszona, G. Schettino, P.H.G. Sharpe, P. Teles, C. Villagrasa, J.J. Wilkens

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Proton and ion beams are radiotherapy modalities of increasing importance and interest. Because of the different biological dose response of these radiations as compared with high-energy photon beams, the current approach of treatment prescription is based on the product of the absorbed dose to water and a biological weighting factor, but this is found to be insufficient for providing a generic method to quantify the biological outcome of radiation. It is therefore suggested to define new dosimetric quantities that allow a transparent separation of the physical processes from the biological ones. Given the complexity of the initiation and occurrence of biological processes on various time and length scales, and given that neither microdosimetry nor nanodosimetry on their own can fully describe the biological effects as a function of the distribution of energy deposition or ionization, a multiscale approach is needed to lay the foundation for the aforementioned new physical quantities relating track structure to relative biological effectiveness in proton and ion beam therapy. This article reviews the state-of-the-art microdosimetry, nanodosimetry, track structure simulations, quantification of reactive species, reference radiobiological data, cross-section data and multiscale models of biological response in the context of realizing the new quantities. It also introduces the European metrology project, Biologically Weighted Quantities in Radiotherapy, which aims to investigate the feasibility of establishing a multiscale model as the basis of the new quantities. A tentative generic expression of how the weighting of physical quantities at different length scales could be carried out is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1045
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

Palmans, H., Rabus, H., Belchior, A. L., Bug, M. U., Galer, S., Giesen, U., Gonon, G., Gruel, G., Hilgers, G., Moro, D., Nettelbeck, H., Pinto, M., Pola, A., Pszona, S., Schettino, G., Sharpe, P. H. G., Teles, P., Villagrasa, C., & Wilkens, J. J. (2015). Future development of biologically relevant dosimetry. British Journal of Radiology, 88(1045), -. https://doi.org/10.1259/bjr.20140392