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The unique geometrical features of brachytherapy, together with the wide variety of temporal patterns of dose delivery, result in important interactions between physics and radiobiology. These interactions exert a major influence on the way in which brachytherapy treatments should be evaluated, both in absolute and comparative terms. This article reviews the main physical and radiobiological aspects of brachytherapy and considers examples of their influence on specific types of treatment. The issues relating to the optimization of high dose rate brachytherapy are presented, together with the implications of multiphasic repair kinetics for low dose-rate and pulsed high dose rate brachytherapy. The opportunities for application of radiobiological principles to improve various brachytherapy techniques, together with the integration of brachytherapy with teletherapy, are also outlined. Equations for the numerical evaluation of brachytherapy treatments are presented in the Appendices.


Journal article


British Journal of Radiology

Publication Date





465 - 483