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The Amsterdam fast neutron therapy project: a final report


, : The Amsterdam fast neutron therapy project: a final report. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 12(12): 2093-2099

In the period from February 1975 through September 1981 a total of 435 patients received radiotherapy with the 14 MeV d + T neutron generator, hospital based in the Netherlands Cancer Institute (the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital). Preliminary data on clinical results were published during the past few years. In this paper a final report is given of the program. The results can be summarized as follows: The neutron generator fulfilled the criteria for clinical use, that is it was reliable and had the required minimal output of 10(12) neutrons s-1. However, the dose distribution was more comparable with a 250 kV X-ray machine than with a modern accelerator. A number of physical parameters of importance for clinical neutron dosimetry have been determined for our therapy unit. These data, as well as the results of dosimetry intercomparisons in which our institute participated, contributed in the drafting of a European protocol for clinical neutron dosimetry. Pilot studies were carried out on different tumor sites, including head and neck, brain, pelvis, soft tissue and pulmonary metastases. In many patients local tumor control was seen, however, often concomitant with severe complications, especially in deep seated tumors. Randomized clinical trials were carried out for head and neck tumors (in collaboration with some other European centers) and for inoperable bladder and rectal tumors. No significant difference was observed in local tumor control or late morbidity between photon and neutron irradiation for the head and neck tumors. Also the results for pelvic tumors failed to demonstrate an advantage for neutron therapy. In this study two neutron arms were used with different dose schedules. As could be expected a higher local control rate was noticed for the higher neutron dose group, but concomitant with a higher complication rate. From our experience we have to conclude that treatment with our fast neutron treatment facility did not result in a benefit over photon irradiation. It seemed that the differential effect between tumor and normal tissues is smaller with fast neutrons than with photons.

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PMID: 3793545


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