Gueulette, J., Binns, P. J., De Coster, B. M., Lu, X-Q., Roberts, S. A. and Riley, K. J. RBE of the MIT Epithermal Neutron Beam for Crypt Cell Regeneration in Mice. Radiat. Res. 164, 805–809 (2005).

The RBE of the new MIT fission converter epithermal neutron capture therapy (NCT) beam has been determined using intestinal crypt regeneration in mice as the reference biological system. Female BALB/c mice were positioned separately at depths of 2.5 and 9.7 cm in a Lucite phantom where the measured total absorbed dose rates were 0.45 and 0.17 Gy/ min, respectively, and irradiated to the whole body with no boron present. The γ-ray (low-LET) contributions to the total absorbed dose (low- + high-LET dose components) were 77% (2.5 cm) and 90% (9.7 cm), respectively. Control irradiations were performed with the same batch of animals using 6 MV photons at a dose rate of 0.83 Gy/min as the reference radiation. The data were consistent with there being a single RBE for each NCT beam relative to the reference 6 MV photon beam. Fitting the data according to the LQ model, the RBEs of the NCT beams were estimated as 1.50 ± 0.04 and 1.03 ± 0.03 at depths of 2.5 and 9.7 cm, respectively. An alternative parameterization of the LQ model considering the proportion of the high- and low-LET dose components yielded RBE values at a survival level corresponding to 20 crypts (16.7%) of 5.2 ± 0.6 and 4.0 ± 0.7 for the high-LET component (neutrons) at 2.5 and 9.7 cm, respectively. The two estimates are significantly different (P = 0.016). There was also some evidence to suggest that the shapes of the curves do differ somewhat for the different radiation sources. These discrepancies could be ascribed to differences in the mechanism of action, to dose-rate effects, or, more likely, to differential sampling of a more complex dose–response relationship.

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