Influence of trace elements in human tissue in low-energy photon brachytherapy dosimetry

Shane A. White, Guillaume Landry, Francis van Gils, Frank Verhaegen, Brigitte Reniers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


The aim of this paper is to determine the dosimetric impact of trace elements in human tissues for low-energy photon sources used in brachytherapy. Monte Carlo dose calculations were used to investigate the dosimetric effect of trace elements present in normal or cancerous human tissues. The effect of individual traces (atomic number Z = 11-30) was studied in soft tissue irradiated by low-energy brachytherapy sources. Three other tissue types (prostate, adipose and mammary gland) were also simulated with varying trace concentrations to quantify the contribution of each trace to the dose distribution. The dose differences between cancerous and healthy prostate tissues were calculated in single-and multi-source geometries. The presence of traces in a tissue produces a difference in the dose distribution that is dependent on Z and the concentration of the trace. Low-Z traces (Na) have a negligible effect (3%). There is a potentially significant difference in the dose distribution between cancerous and healthy prostate tissues (4%) and even larger if compared to the trace-free composition (15%) in both single- and multi-sourced geometries. Trace elements have a non-negligible (up to 8% in prostate D-90) effect on the dose in tissues irradiated with low-energy photon sources. This study underlines the need for further investigation into accurate determination of the trace composition of tissues associated with low-energy brachytherapy. Alternatively, trace elements could be incorporated as a source of uncertainty in dose calculations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3585-3596
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2012

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