Neutron therapy

Neutrons are the commonest type of particle beam used for radiotherapy but the clinical results obtained are controversial. With a high LET (linear energy transfer) they produce more cell killing per dose than megavoltage X-rays. This may be particularly advantageous in hypoxic areas of tumour. Clinical trials have been carried out for salivary gland tumours, prostrate adenocarcinomas, soft tissue sarcomas, paranasal sinuses, and melanomas. The main problems have been the severity of the normal tissue reactions and lack of a clear clinical advantage.

The poor dose distribution and beam delivery systems of the early experimental neutron facilities may have hampered the clinical results.

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