Towards in vivo monitoring of neutron distributions for quality control of BNCT

W. F.A.R. Verbakel, K. Hideghety, J. Morrissey, W. Sauerwein, F. Stecher-Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Dose delivery in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is complex because several components contribute to the dose absorbed in tissue. This dose is largely determined by local boron concentration, thermal neutron distribution and patient positioning. In vivo measurements of these factors would considerably improve quality control and safety. During therapy, a γ-ray telescope measures the γ-rays emitted following neutron capture by hydrogen and boron in a small volume of the head of a patient. Scans of hydrogen γ-ray emissions could be used to verify the actual distribution of thermal neutrons during neutron irradiation. The method was first tested on different phantoms. These measurements showed good agreement with calculations based on thermal neutron distributions derived from a treatment planning program and from Monte Carlo N-particle (MCNP) simulations. Next, the feasibility of telescope scans during patient irradiation therapy was demonstrated. Measurements were reproducible between irradiation fractions. In theory, this method can be used to verify the positioning of the patient in vivo and the delivery of thermal neutrons in tissue. However, differences between measurements and calculations based on a routine treatment planning program were observed. These differences could be used to refine the treatment planning. Further developments will be necessary for this method to become a standard quality control system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1072
Number of pages14
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 7 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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