Online proton therapy monitoring: clinical test of a Silicon-photodetector-based in-beam PET

Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 6;8(1):4100. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-22325-6.


Particle therapy exploits the energy deposition pattern of hadron beams. The narrow Bragg Peak at the end of range is a major advantage but range uncertainties can cause severe damage and require online verification to maximise the effectiveness in clinics. In-beam Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive, promising in-vivo technique, which consists in the measurement of the β+ activity induced by beam-tissue interactions during treatment, and presents the highest correlation of the measured activity distribution with the deposited dose, since it is not much influenced by biological washout. Here we report the first clinical results obtained with a state-of-the-art in-beam PET scanner, with on-the-fly reconstruction of the activity distribution during irradiation. An automated time-resolved quantitative analysis was tested on a lacrimal gland carcinoma case, monitored during two consecutive treatment sessions. The 3D activity map was reconstructed every 10 s, with an average delay between beam delivery and image availability of about 6 s. The correlation coefficient of 3D activity maps for the two sessions (above 0.9 after 120 s) and the range agreement (within 1 mm) prove the suitability of in-beam PET for online range verification during treatment, a crucial step towards adaptive strategies in particle therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / pathology*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Proton Therapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome