Thermal neutron irradiation field design for boron neutron capture therapy of human explanted liver

S. Bortolussi, S. Altieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The selective uptake of boron by tumors compared to that by healthy tissue makes boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) an extremely advantageous technique for the treatment of tumors that affect a whole vital organ. An example is represented by colon adenocarcinoma metastases invading the liver, often resulting in a fatal outcome, even if surgical resection of the primary tumor is successful. BNCT can be performed by irradiating the explanted organ in a suitable neutron field. In the thermal column of the Triga Mark II reactor at Pavia University, a facility was created for this purpose and used for the irradiation of explanted human livers. The neutron field distribution inside the organ was studied both experimentally and by means of the Monte Carlo N -particle transport code (MCNP). The liver was modeled as a spherical segment in MCNP and a hepatic-equivalent solution was used as an experimental phantom. In the as-built facility, the ratio between maximum and minimum flux values inside the phantom (Φmaxmin) was 3.8; this value can be lowered to 2.3 by rotating the liver during the irradiation. In this study, the authors proposed a new facility configuration to achieve a uniform thermal neutron flux distribution in the liver. They showed that a Φmax/ Φmin ratio of 1.4 could be obtained without the need for organ rotation. Flux distributions and dose volume histograms were reported for different graphite configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4700-4705
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • BNCT
  • Liver irradiation
  • MCNP
  • Thermal neutrons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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