Antiproton induced DNA damage: Proton like in flight, carbon-ion like near rest

J. N. Kavanagh, F. J. Currell, D. J. Timson, K. I. Savage, D. J. Richard, S. J. McMahon, O. Hartley, G. A.P. Cirrone, F. Romano, K. M. Prise, N. Bassler, M. H. Holzscheiter, G. Schettino

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Biological validation of new radiotherapy modalities is essential to understand their therapeutic potential. Antiprotons have been proposed for cancer therapy due to enhanced dose deposition provided by antiproton-nucleon annihilation. We assessed cellular DNA damage and relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of a clinically relevant antiproton beam. Despite a modest LET (∼19 keV/μm), antiproton spread out Bragg peak (SOBP) irradiation caused significant residual γ-H2AX foci compared to X-ray, proton and antiproton plateau irradiation. RBE of ∼1.48 in the SOBP and ∼1 in the plateau were measured and used for a qualitative effective dose curve comparison with proton and carbon-ions. Foci in the antiproton SOBP were larger and more structured compared to X-rays, protons and carbon-ions. This is likely due to overlapping particle tracks near the annihilation vertex, creating spatially correlated DNA lesions. No biological effects were observed at 28-42 mm away from the primary beam suggesting minimal risk from long-range secondary particles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1770
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2013


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