Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 1–5 | Cite as

A Critical Assessment of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy: An Overview

  • Rolf F. Barth


Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is based on the nuclear reaction that occurs when boron-10 is irradiated with neutrons of the appropriate energy to produce high-energy alpha particles and recoiling lithium-7 nuclei. BNCT has been used clinically to treat patients with high-grade gliomas, and a much smaller number with primary and metastatic melanoma. The purpose of this special issue of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology is to provide a critical and realistic assessment of various aspects of basic and clinical BNCT research in order to better understand its present status and future potential. Topics that are covered include neutron sources, tumor-targeted boron delivery agents, brain tumor models to assess therapeutic efficacy, computational dosimetry and treatment planning, results of clinical trails in the United States, Japan and Europe, pharmacokinetic studies of sodium borocaptate and boronophenylalanine (BPA), positron emission tomography imaging of BPA for treatment planning, and finally an overview of the challenges and problems that must be faced if BNCT is to become a useful treatment modality for brain tumors. Clinical studies have demonstrated the safety of BNCT. The next challenge is an unequivocal demonstration of therapeutic efficacy in one or more of the clinical trails that either are in progress or are planned over the next few years.

boron neutron capture therapy critical assessment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Soloway AH, Tjarks W, Barnum BA, Rong FG, Barth RF, Codogni IM, Wilson JG: The chemistry of neutron capture therapy. Chem Rev 98: 1515–1562, 1998Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barth RF, Soloway AH, Goodman JH, Gahbauer RE, Gupta N, Blue TE, Yang W, Tjarks W: Boron neutron capture therapy of brain tumors: an emerging therapeutic modality. Neurosurgery 44: 433–451, 1999Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Coderre JA, Morris GM: The radiation biology of boron neutron capture therapy. Radiat Res 151: 1–18, 1999Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hawthorne MF, Shelly K, Wiersma R (eds): Frontiers in Neutron Capture Therapy. Vols I & II, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2001Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sauerwein W, Moss R, Wittig A: Research and Development in Neutron Capture Therapy. Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on Neutron Capture Therapy, Essen, Germany, September 8-13, 2002. Monduzzi Editore S.p.A, International Proceedings Division, Bologna, Italy, 2002Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harling O, Riley KJ: Fission reactor neutron sources for neutron capture therapy: a critical review. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 7–17, 2003Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Blue T, Yanch J: Accelerator-based epithermal neutron sources for boron neutron capture therapy of brain tumors. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 19–31, 2003Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hawthorne MF, Lee MW: A critical assessment of boron target compounds for boron neutron capture therapy. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 33–45, 2003Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Carlsson J, Bohl-Kullberg E, Capala J, Sj¨oberg S, Edwards K, Gedda L: Ligand liposomes and boron neutron capture therapy. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 47–59, 2003Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Barth RF, Yang W, Coderre J: Rat brain tumor models to assess the efficacy of boron neutron capture therapy: a critical evaluation. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 61–74, 2003Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nigg D: Computational dosimetry and treatment planning considerations for neutron capture therapy. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 75–86, 2003Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nakagawa Y, Pooh K, Kobayashi T, Sakurai Y, Kageji T, Uyama S, Matsumura A, Yamamoto T, Kumada H: Clinical review of the Japanese experience with boron neutron capture therapy and a proposed strategy using epithermal neutron beams. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 87–99, 2003Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Diaz AZ: Assessment of the results from the Phase I/II boron neutron capture therapy trials at the Brookhaven National Laboratory from a clinician's point of view. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 101–109, 2003Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Busse PM, Harling OK, Palmer MR, Kiger WS, Kaplan J, Kaplan I, Chuang CF, Goorley JT, Riley KJ, Newton TH, Santa Cruz GA, Lu X-Q, Zamenhof RG: A critical examination of the results from the Harvard-MIT NCT program phase I clinical trial of neutron capture therapy for intracranial disease. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 111–121, 2003Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Joensuu H, Kankaanranta L, Seppälä T, Auterinen I, Kallio M, Kulvik M, Laakso J, Vähütalo J, Kortesniemi M, Kotilutot P, Serén T, Karila J, Brander A, Järviluoma E, Ryynänen P, Paetau A, Ruokonen I, Minn H, Tenhunen M, Jääskeläinen J, Färkkilä M, Savolainen S: Boron neutron capture therapy of brain tumors: clinical trials at the Finnish facility using boronophenylalanine. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 123–134, 2003Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Capala J, H-Stensam B, Sköld K, af Rosenschöld PM, Giusti V, Persson C, Wallin E, Brun A, Franzen L, Carlsson J, Salford L, Ceberg C, Persson B, Oerittieli L, Henriksson R: Boron neutron capture therapy for glioblastoma multiforme: clinical studies in Sweden. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 135–144, 2003Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hidegh´ety K, Sauerwein W, Wittig A, G¨otz C, Paquis P, Grochulla F, Haselberger K, Wolbers J, Moss R, Huiskamp R, Fankhauser H, de Vries M, Gabel D: Tissue uptake of BSH in patients with glioblastoma in the EORTC 11961 Phase I BNCT trial. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 145–156, 2003Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gibson CR, Staubus AE, Barth RF, Yang W, Ferketich AF, Moeschberger MM: Pharmacokinetics of sodium borocaptate: a critical assessment of dosing paradigms for boron neutron capture therapy. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 157–169, 2003Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kiger III WS, Palmer MR, Riley KJ, Zamenhof RG, Busse PM: Pharmacokinetic modeling of boron phenylalanine-fructose mediated neutron capture therapy: 10B concentration predictions and dosimetric consequences. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 171–186, 2003Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kabalka GW, Nichols TL, Smith GT, Miller LF, Khan MK: The use of positron emission tomography to develop boron neutron capture therapy treatment plans for metastatic malignant melanoma. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 187–195, 2003Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gupta N, Gahbauer R, Blue TE, Albertson B: Common challenges and problems in clinical trials of boron neutron capture therapy of brain tumors. J Neuro-Oncol 62: 197–210, 2003Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf F. Barth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations