Retrospective Analysis of the Areas Responsible for Light Flash and Odor During Proton Beam Therapy and Photon Therapy

Cureus. 2023 Sep 6;15(9):e44790. doi: 10.7759/cureus.44790. eCollection 2023 Sep.


Background Abnormal sensations were frequently experienced by patients who received irradiation of the brain or head and neck region. We have previously suggested correlations with irradiation of the nasal cavity and retina. Purpose We performed a retrospective dose-volume histogram analysis focused on the brain and head and neck tumor to examine the relationship between these abnormal sensations and the details of irradiation. Methods Multivariate logistic regression models were applied for the presence or absence of light flash and odor. Gender, age, radiotherapy method (proton beam therapy vs. photon radiotherapy), dose of retina, optic nerve, chiasmatic gland, pituitary, nasal cavity, oral cavity, frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, amygdala, and hippocampus were set as candidates of explanatory variables. Results Light flash and odor during radiotherapy have been suggested to be associated with younger age and retina and nasal cavity irradiation. Multivariate analyses including dose-volume histograms indicated that light flash was related to age, chiasmatic gland irradiation, and pituitary dose, and odor was related to age and nasal cavity irradiation. Conclusion Our results indicate that light flash during radiotherapy is caused by irradiation of the visual pathway and that odor is caused by irradiation of the nasal cavity or olfactory bulb.

Keywords: brain; light flash; odor; proton; radiotherapy.