Effect of a magnetic field on the track structure of low-energy electrons: a Monte Carlo study
The increasing use of MRI-guided radiation therapy evokes the necessity to investigate the potential impact of a magnetic field on the biological effectiveness of therapeutic radiation beams. While it is known that a magnetic field, applied during irradiation, can improve the macroscopic absorbed dose distribution of electrons in the tumor region, effects on the microscopic distribution of energy depositions and ionizations have not yet been investigated. An effect on the number of ionizations in a DNA segment, which is related to initial DNA damage in form of complex strand breaks, could be beneficial in radiation therapy. In this work we studied the effects of a magnetic field on the pattern of ionizations at nanometric level by means of Monte Carlo simulations using the Geant4-DNA toolkit. The track structure of lowenergy electrons in the presence of a uniform static magnetic field of strength up to 14 T was calculated for a simplified DNA segment model in form of a water cylinder. In the case that no magnetic field is applied, nanodosimetric results obtained with Geant4-DNA were compared with those from the PTB track structure code. The obtained results suggest that any potential enhancement of complexity of DNA strand breaks induced by irradiation in a magnetic field is not related to modifications of the low-energy secondary electrons track structure.