Boron neutron capture therapy: effects of split dose and overall treatment time

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SummaryNew clinical protocols are being developed that will entail the administration of considerably higher doses of the boron delivery agent boronophenylalanine (BPA) than those in current clinical use. Fractionation (2 or 4 fractions) of BPA mediated boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is also under consideration at some clinical centres. Given the considerably higher infusion volumes that will be entailed in the delivery of BPA in the new high dosage protocols, there will be a requirement to extend the gap between fractions to 2 or more days. In order to assess the effects of a 2 fraction protocol on the therapeutic efficacy of BPA mediated BNCT, a series of split dose irradiations (two equal fractions) were undertaken using the rat intracranially implanted 9L gliosarcoma model. A single dose exposure to BPA mediated BNCT of 3.0 Gy resulted in long term survival levels of 50%. Survival levels increased to 71% and 77% with a 3 and 5 day gap between dose fractions (two equal fractions), respectively, using the same total dose. A further increase in the time interval between dose fractions to 7 days resulted in a reduction in survival to 36%. However, there was no significant difference between the single dose and the 3, 5 and 7 day survival data (P > 0.1) The difference between the 5 and 7 day split dose survival data was of border-line significance (P = 0.05). It is anticipated that mucositis, could become a potential problem in future BNCT clinical protocols involving higher doses, larger field sizes or multiple fields. The potential sparing of the oral mucosa, due to repopulation during the interval between the two fractions, was investigated using a series of split dose BPA mediated BNC irradiations. The ventral surface of the rat tongue was utilised as a model for oral mucosa. The ED50 (50% incidence) values for the ulceration end point were 3.0 ± 0.1, 3.2 ± 0.1, 3.0 ± 0.1 and 3.6 ± 0.1 Gy, for 3, 5, 7 and 9 day splits between doses, respectively. It is evident from this data that there were no significant changes in the ED50 (p < 0.001) until the 9 day dose split, when the ED50 value was 20% higher than the ED50 value after a 7 day split. It was concluded that the two fraction BNCT protocol, with dose splits of up to 5 days, did not diminish the therapeutic response of the rat 9L gliosarcoma, when compared with a single dose BNCT protocol. Tolerance of the oral mucosa to BNC irradiation was not increased until there was a 9 day gap between fractions. However, the beneficial effects of dose sparing at this time interval between doses, would probably be counteracted by a reduction in the therapeutic effectiveness of the BNCT modality, due to repopulation of tumour clonogens between doses.

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