Understanding the potentiality of accelerator based-boron neutron capture therapy for osteosarcoma: Dosimetry assessment based on the reported clinical experience

Silva Bortolussi, Ian Postuma, Nicoletta Protti, Lucas Provenzano, Cinzia Ferrari, Laura Cansolino, Paolo Dionigi, Olimpio Galasso, Giorgio Gasparini, Saverio Altieri, Shin Ichi Miyatake, Sara J. González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Osteosarcoma is the most frequent primary malignant bone tumour, and its incidence is higher in children and adolescents, for whom it represents more than 10% of solid cancers. Despite the introduction of adjuvant and neo-adjuvant chemotherapy that markedly increased the success rate in the treatment, aggressive surgery is still needed and a considerable percentage of patients do not survive due to recurrences or early metastases. Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT), an experimental radiotherapy, was investigated as a treatment that could allow a less aggressive surgery by killing infiltrated tumour cells in the surrounding healthy tissues. BNCT requires an intense neutron beam to ensure irradiation times of the order of 1h. In Italy, a Radio Frequency Quadrupole (RFQ) proton accelerator has been designed and constructed for BNCT, and a suitable neutron spectrum was tailored by means of Monte Carlo calculations. This paper explores the feasibility of BNCT to treat osteosarcoma using this neutron source based on accelerator. Methods: The therapeutic efficacy of BNCT was analysed evaluating the dose distribution obtained in a clinical case of femur osteosarcoma. Mixed field dosimetry was assessed with two different formalisms whose parameters were specifically derived from radiobiological experiments involving in vitro UMR-106 osteosarcoma cell survival assays and boron concentration assessments in an animal model of osteosarcoma. A clinical case of skull osteosarcoma treated with BNCT in Japan was re-evaluated from the point of view of dose calculation and used as a reference for comparison. Results: The results in the case of femur osteosarcoma show that the RFQ beam would ensure a suitable tumour dose painting in a total irradiation time of less than an hour. Comparing the dosimetry between the analysed case and the treated patient in Japan it turns out that doses obtained in the femur tumour are at least as good as the ones delivered in the skull osteosarcoma. The same is concluded when the comparison is carried out taking into account osteosarcoma irradiations with photon radiation therapy. Conclusions: The possibility to apply BNCT to osteosarcoma would allow a multimodal treatment consisting in neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, high-LET selective radiation treatment and a more conservative surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130
JournalRadiation Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerator-based BNCT
  • Boron neutron capture therapy
  • Mixed-field dosimetry
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Photon iso-effective dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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