Neutron Capture Therapy for Melanoma

  • Jeffrey A. Coderre
  • John D. Glass
  • Peggy Micca
  • Ralph G. Fairchild
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 50)


The dose-limiting factor in cancer radiation therapy is the tolerance level of normal tissues within the radiation field. In boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), thermal neutrons interact with boron via the 10B(n,a)/Li reaction (Taylor, 1935) to produce short-range (~ 5–9 µm), high-linear energy transfer radiations which have a large relative biological effectiveness (RBE) (Gabel, 1984; Fukuda, 1987). In theory, selective localization of 10B within the tumor should allow most of the dose to be restricted to the tumor (Locher, 1936). The failure of the initial clinical trials of BNCT, carried out between 1953 and 1961 at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Massachusetts General Hospital (Farr, 1954; Goodwin, 1955; Asbury, 1972) was attributed to two major factors: (i) the use of boron-containing compounds which showed no selective accumulation in tumor and (ii) the rapid attenuation in tissue of the incident thermal neutron beam. The high neutron doses employed resulted in excessive surface tissue exposure; viable tumor was found at depth following the neutron irradiations. The substantial levels of boron in blood during irradiation contributed to the damage to normal brain vasculature (tumor/blood ratio <1).


Thermal Neutron Neutron Capture Boron Neutron Capture Therapy Brookhaven National Laboratory Neutron Fluence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Coderre
    • 1
  • John D. Glass
    • 1
  • Peggy Micca
    • 1
  • Ralph G. Fairchild
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical DepartmentBrookhaven National LaboratoryUptonUSA

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