Requirements for designing an effective metallic nanoparticle (NP)-boosted radiation therapy (RT)
Reviewartikel, 2021

Many different tumor-targeted strategies are under development worldwide to limit the side effects and improve the effectiveness of cancer therapies. One promising method is to enhance the radiosensitization of the cancer cells while reducing or maintaining the normal tissue complica-tion probability during radiation therapy using metallic nanoparticles (NPs). Radiotherapy with MV photons is more commonly available and applied in cancer clinics than high LET particle radi-otherapy, so the addition of high-Z NPs has the potential to further increase the efficacy of photon radiotherapy in terms of NP radiosensitization. Generally, when using X-rays, mainly the inner electron shells are ionized, which creates cascades of both low and high energy Auger electrons. When using high LET particles, mainly the outer shells are ionized, which give electrons with lower energies than when using X-rays. The amount of the produced low energy electrons is higher when exposing NPs to heavy charged particles than when exposing them to X-rays. Since ions traverse the material along tracks, and therefore give rise to a much more inhomogeneous dose distributions than X-rays, there might be a need to introduce a higher number of NPs when using ions compared to when using X-rays to create enough primary and secondary electrons to get the desired dose escalations. This raises the questions of toxicity. This paper provides a review of the fundamental processes controlling the outcome of metallic NP-boosted photon beam and ion beam radiation therapy and presents some experimental procedures to study the biological effects of NPs’ radio-sensitization. The overview shows the need for more systematic studies of the behavior of NPs when exposed to different kinds of ionizing radiation before applying metallic-based NPs in clinical practice to improve the effect of IR therapy.

Metallic nanoparticles (NPs)

Ions beam therapy


Radiation therapy



Ioanna Tremi

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Ellas Spyratou

University of Athens

Maria Souli

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Atominstitut der Osterreichischen Universitaten

Efstathios P. Efstathopoulos

University of Athens

Mersini Makropoulou

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Alexandros G. Georgakilas

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Lembit Sihver

Chalmers, Fysik, Subatomär, högenergi- och plasmafysik

Atominstitut der Osterreichischen Universitaten


20726694 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 13 3185


Acceleratorfysik och instrumentering

Atom- och molekylfysik och optik

Annan fysik





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