Binns, P. J., Riley, K. J. and Harling, O. K. Epithermal Neutron Beams for Clinical Studies of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy: A Dosimetric Comparison of Seven Beams. Radiat. Res. 164, 212–220 (2005).
A comparison of seven epithermal neutron beams used in clinical studies of boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) in Sweden (Studsvik), Finland (Espoo), Czech Republic (ReZ), The Netherlands (Petten) and the U.S. (Brookhaven and Cambridge) was performed to facilitate sharing of preclinical and clinical results. The physical performance of each beam was measured using a common dosimetry method under conditions pertinent to brain irradiations. Neutron fluence and absorbed dose measurements were performed with activation foils and paired ionization chambers on the central axis both in air and in an ellipsoidal water phantom. The overall quality of each beam was assessed by figures of merit determined from the total weighted dose profiles that assumed the presence of boron in tissue. The in-air specific beam contamination from both fast neutrons and γ rays ranged between 8 and 65 × 10−11 cGy(w) cm2 for the different beams and the epithermal neutron flux intensities available at the patient position differed by more than a factor of 20 from 0.2–4.3 × 109 n cm−2 s−1. Percentage depth dose profiles measured in-phantom for the individual photon, thermal and fast-neutron dose components differed only subtly in shape between facilities. Assuming uptake characteristics consistent with the currently used boronated phenylalanine, all the epithermal beams exhibit a useful penetration of 8 cm or greater that is sufficient to irradiate a lesion seated at the brain midline. The performance of the existing facilities will benefit from the introduction of advanced compounds through improved beam penetrability. This could increase by as much as 2 cm for the purest of beams, although the beam intensities generally need to be increased to between 2–5 × 109 n cm−2 s−1 to maintain manageable irradiation times. These data provide the first consistent measurement of beam performance at the different centers and will enable a preliminary normalization of the calculated patient dosimetry.