Neutron therapy: Radiation biology and treatment of cancers

Keyhandokht Karimi-Shahri


Differences between characteristics of high Linear Energy Transfer (LET) radiation such as fast neutrons and low LET radiation like photon and electron is leading to selection of neutron for treatment of some cancers. The required dose to kill the same number of cancerous cells by neutrons is about one third in comparison with photons. Clinical reports showed that a full course of treatment with neutrons consists of 12 treatment sessions, compared to 30-40 treatments with photons or electrons. While, recent studies on side effects of neutron therapy have showed that the side effects for fast neutron therapy are similar to those of low LET radiotherapy. To this end, treatment of extended inoperable salivary gland, paranasal sinuses, advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, advanced prostate cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, melanomas and brain tumors showed significant advantages of neutron therapy compared to radiotherapy using photons.

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