Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT) exploits tumour selectivity and normal tissue sparing with spatially fractionated kilovoltage X-ray microbeams through the dose volume effect. Experimental measurements with Ta2O5 nanoparticles (NPs) in 9L gliosarcoma treated with MRT at the Australian Synchrotron, increased the treatment efficiency. Ta2O5 NPs were observed to form shells around cell nuclei which may be the reason for their efficiency in MRT. In this article, our experimental observation of NP shell formation is the basis of a Geant4 radiation transport study to characterise dose enhancement by Ta2O5 NPs in MRT. Our study showed that NP shells enhance the physical dose depending microbeam energy and their location relative to a single microbeam. For monochromatic microbeam energies below ∼70 keV, NP shells show highly localised dose enhancement due to the short range of associated secondary electrons. Low microbeam energies indicate better targeted treatment by allowing higher microbeam doses to be administered to tumours and better exploit the spatial fractionation related selectivity observed with MRT. For microbeam energies above ∼100 keV, NP shells extend the physical dose enhancement due to longer-range secondary electrons. Again, with NPs selectively internalised, the local effectiveness of MRT is expected to increase in the tumour. Dose enhancement produced by the shell aggregate varied more significantly in the cell population, depending on its location, when compared to a homogeneous NP distribution. These combined simulation and experimental data provide first evidence for optimising MRT through the incorporation of newly observed Ta2O5 NP distributions within 9L cancer cells.
Available for download on Friday, November 17, 2017