Published online Apr 28, 2010. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v2.i4.135
Revised: April 1, 2010
Accepted: April 12, 2010
Published online: April 28, 2010
Protons deposit most of their kinetic energy at the end of their path with no energy deposition beyond the range, making proton therapy a valuable option for treating tumors while sparing surrounding tissues. It is imperative to know the location of the dose deposition to ensure the tumor, and not healthy tissue, is being irradiated. To be able to extract this information in a clinical situation, an accurate dosimetry measurement system is required. There are currently two in vivo methods that are being used for proton therapy dosimetry: (1) online or in-beam monitoring and (2) offline monitoring, both using positron emission tomography (PET) systems. The theory behind using PET is that protons experience inelastic collisions with atoms in tissues resulting in nuclear reactions creating positron emitters. By acquiring a PET image following treatment, the location of the positron emitters in the patient, and therefore the path of the proton beam, can be determined. Coupling the information from the PET image with the patient’s anatomy, it is possible to monitor the location of the tumor and the location of the dose deposition. This review summarizes current research investigating both of these methods with promising results and reviews the limitations along with the advantages of each method.