You are on page 1of 22

A comparison of X-ray, proton and alpha beam track structures Geant4 very low energy models

Aimee McNamara1, Susanna Guatelli2, Dale Prokopovich1, Mark Reinhard1, Anatoly Rosenfeld2 1. Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) 2. Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP), University of Wollongong, Australia

Motivation for new dosimetric concepts

Lethal damage to cells by ionising radiation is initiated by damage to the DNA molecule in the form of single and double strand breaks (DSBs). Particle track structure and the ionisation cluster distribution are important factors in assessing the biological effects of different radiation fields. Low-energy secondary electrons (< 1 keV) produce ~ 50% of all ionisations
Single strand break (SSB)

Double strand break (DSB)

Motivation for new dosimetric concepts

Absorbed dose is insufficient at satisfactory describing radiation damage on nanometer scales and as our knowledge of cellular function grows we need to evaluate the effect of radiation on the DNA level. Experimentally measuring ionisation cluster-size formation in nanometric targets is very challenging and experimental nanodosimetry can benefit from computational simulations.

Aim of this investigation

Investigate the track structure (down to ~ eV) of ionising radiation, particularly:
Low energy X-rays, as those found in microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) and 10 50 MeV protons found in abundance in the Bragg peak of proton therapy. Alpha particles e.g. targeted alpha therapy Better understanding of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE). Possible to substitute or supplement different therapies.

Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT)

Experimental treatment consisting of an array of microscopic thin xray beams with E ~ 20 100 keV Microbeams are aimed at the tumoral volume, killing cells directly in beam path while sparing cells in between the peaks
Lateral dose profile
Spiga et al. (2007) Med. Phys. 34 4322 Brauer-Krisch et al. (2005) Phys. Med. Biol. 50 3103

Spiga et al. (2007) Med. Phys. 34 4322

Proton Therapy
Proton beams produce distinct depth dose distributions in matter Appropriate selection of a distribution of proton energies can produce a modulated or "spread-out Bragg peak" (SOBP), which can be calculated to coincide with tumors. Proton therapy cost needs to be reduced.

Targeted Alpha Therapy

Alpha-emitting radionuclides could selectively target cancer cells. Alpha particles have a high energy (3-9 MeV) but a short path length in tissue ~ 0.1 mm. Surrounding healthy cells are spared high doses.

Geant4 Very Low Energy Models (Geant4-DNA)

Allows the detailed modelling of the track structure of ionsing particles down to ~eV scale Particles: electron, proton, H, alpha, He+, He Processes: elastic scattering, ionisation, excitation, charge increase and decrease.

S Chauvie et al. (2007) IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci. 2 803 S Incerti et al. (2010) Med. Phys. 37 4692

Geant4 Simulation Study

Monoenergetic x-ray, proton and alpha pencil beams incident on a water cube of dimension 0.4 mm. The ionisation cluster distribution at different distances from the beam axis and at different points along the beam trajectory is determined in nanometric voxels (4 x 2 x 2 nm).

Geometric size and shape of DNA molecule is more important than complex shape (Friedland et al. 1998)

Geant4 Simulation Study

Photons are tracked down to 250 eV using the Geant4 Low Energy package (based on the Livermore evaluated data libraries) Electrons with energy > 10 keV and protons with energy > 10 MeV are transported by Geant4 Low Energy Package Secondary electrons, protons and alphas are transported down to ~eV using the Geant4 very low energy models


Rayleigh scattering, Photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, pair production Ionisation, Bremsstrahlung, multiple scattering

Geant4 Low Energy Physics Package (based on Livermore evaluated data libraries)

Electrons, E> 10 KeV

Geant4 Low Energy Physics Package (based on Livermore evaluated data libraries) Geant4 Very Low Energy extensions

Electrons, E < 10 KeV Protons E > 10 MeV

Elastic scattering, excitation, ionisation

Ionisation (Electronic Stopping Geant4 Low Energy Physics Package Power by Bethe Bloch), multiple scattering, Bremsstrahlung, inelastic and elastic scattering (hadronic processes) Ionisation, excitation, charge decrease Geant4 Very Low Energy extensions

Proton E < 10 MeV

Physics Processes

Photon pencil beam: Ionisation distribution

50 keV

100 keV

Plane 1

Plane 2

2 Plane x2x5 3 nm voxels

Energy deposition Photon beam

Beam r

100 keV
2 m

50 keV

Proton pencil beam: Ionisation distribution

20 MeV

50 MeV

Plane 1

Plane 2

Plane 3

Energy deposition Proton beam

20 MeV

50 MeV

Proton pencil beam (104): Ionisation distribution

20 MeV

50 MeV

Photon and proton beam comparison

100 keV X-rays

20 MeV protons

Plane 1

Plane 2

Plane 3

Photon and proton beam comparison X-rays: 100 keV

Protons: 20 MeV

Alpha pencil beam: Ionisation distribution

4 MeV

Low energy depositions in living cells needs to be further investigated. Nanodosimetric considerations e.g. ionisation cluster distribution important when considering the RBE of ionising radiation. X-ray beams could produce similar ionisation cluster distributions to MeV protons on the nanometer scale for particular values of the incident particle energy and depth ranges within the target.

Future work
Further investigation into the nanodosimetric properties of x-rays and protons over different ranges of energies and depths. Include probability of DNA repair mechanisms in analysis. Models for free radical damage. Validation of low energy models in liquid water.