Development of a treatment planning system for BNCT based on positron emission tomography data: preliminary results
Present standard treatment planning (TP) for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM - a kind of brain tumor), used in all boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) trials, requires the construction (based on CT and/or MRI images) of a 3D model of the patient head, in which several regions, corresponding to different anatomical structures, are identified. The model is then employed by a computer code to simulate radiation transport in human tissues. The assumption is always made that considering a single value of boron concentration for each specific region will not lead to significant errors in dose computation. The concentration values are estimated "indirectly", on the basis of previous experience and blood sample analysis. This paper describes an original approach, with the introduction of data on the in vivo boron distribution, acquired by a positron emission tomography (PET) scan after labeling the BPA (borono-phenylalanine) with the positron emitter 18F. The feasibility of this approach was first tested with good results using the code CARONTE. Now a complete TPS is under development. The main features of the first version of this code are described and the results of a preliminary study are presented. Significant differences in dose computation arise when the two different approaches ("standard" and "PET-based") are applied to the TP of the same GBM case.