Oxygen depletion in proton spot scanning: a tool for exploring the conditions needed for FLASH

Bethany Rothwell, Matthew Lowe, Norman Kirkby, Mike Merchant, Amy Chadwick, Ranald Mackay, Jolyon Hendry, Karen Kirkby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


FLASH radiotherapy is a rapidly developing field which promises improved normal tissue protection compared to conventional irradiation and no compromise on tumour control. The transient hypoxic state induced by the depletion of oxygen at high dose rates provides one possible explanation. However, studies have mostly focused on uniform fields of dose and there is a lack of investigation into the spatial and temporal variation of dose from proton pencil-beam scanning (PBS). A model of oxygen reaction and diffusion in tissue has been extended to simulate proton PBS delivery and its impact on oxygen levels. This provides a tool to predict oxygen effects from various PBS treatments, and explore potential delivery strategies. Here we present a number of case applications to demonstrate the use of this tool for FLASH-related investigations. We show that levels of oxygen depletion could vary significantly across a large parameter space for PBS treatments, and highlight the need for in silico models such as this to aid in the development and optimisation of FLASH radiotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-304
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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