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INTRODUCTION: FLASH proton therapy (FLASH-PT) requires ultra-high dose rate (≥ 40 Gy/s) protons to be delivered in a short timescale whilst conforming to a patient-specific target. This study investigates the feasibility and constraints of Bragg peak FLASH-PT treatment planning, and compares the in silico results produced to plans for intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT). MATERIALS AND METHOD: Bragg peak FLASH-PT and IMPT treatment plans were generated for bone (n=3), brain (n=3), and lung (n=4) targets using the MIROpt research treatment planning system and the Conformal FLASH library developed by Applications SA from the open-source version of UCLouvain. FLASH-PT beams were simulated using monoenergetic spot-scanned protons traversing through a conformal energy modulator, a range shifter, and an aperture. A dose rate constraint of ≥ 40 Gy/s was included in each FLASH-PT plan optimisation. RESULTS: Space limitations in the FLASH-PT adapted beam nozzle imposed a maximum target width constraint, excluding 4 cases from the study. FLASH-PT plans did not satisfy the imposed target dose constraints (D95% ≥ 95% and D2%≤ 105%) but achieved clinically acceptable doses to organs at risk (OARs). IMPT plans adhered to all target and OAR dose constraints. FLASH-PT plans showed a reduction in both target homogeneity (p < 0.001) and dose conformity (non-significant) compared to IMPT. CONCLUSION: Without accounting for a sparing effect, IMPT plans were superior in target coverage, dose conformity, target homogeneity, and OAR sparing compared to FLASH-PT. Further research is warranted in treatment planning optimisation and beam delivery for clinical implementation of Bragg peak FLASH-PT.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Oncol

Publication Date





Bragg peak, FLASH radiotherapy, feasibility studies, intensity-modulated proton therapy, proton therapy