Emerging radiotherapy treatments including targeted particle therapy, hadron therapy or radiosensitisation of cells by high-Z nanoparticles demand the theoretical determination of radiation track structure at the nanoscale. This is essential in order to evaluate radiation damage at the cellular and DNA level. Since 2007, Geant4 offers physics models to describe particle interactions in liquid water at the nanometre level through the Geant4-DNA Package. This package currently provides a complete set of models describing the event-by-event electromagnetic interactions of particles with liquid water, as well as developments for the modelling of water radiolysis. Since its release, Geant4-DNA has been adopted as an investigational tool in kV and MV external beam radiotherapy, hadron therapies using protons and heavy ions, targeted therapies and radiobiology studies. It has been benchmarked with respect to other track structure Monte Carlo codes and, where available, against reference experimental measurements. While Geant4-DNA physics models and radiolysis modelling functionalities have already been described in detail in the literature, this review paper summarises and discusses a selection of representative papers with the aim of providing an overview of a) geometrical descriptions of biological targets down to the DNA size, and b) the full spectrum of current micro- and nano-scale applications of Geant4-DNA.
Available for download on Tuesday, September 19, 2017