Faster and safer? FLASH ultra-high dose rate in radiotherapy.
Durante M., Bräuer-Krisch E., Hill M.
Recent results from the Franco-Swiss team of Institute Curie and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois demonstrate a remarkable sparing of normal tissue after irradiation at ultra-high dose rate (>40 Gy s-1). The "FLASH" radiotherapy maintains tumour control level, suggesting that ultra-high dose rate can substantially enhance the therapeutic window in radiotherapy. The results have been obtained so far only with 4-6 MeV electrons in lung and brain mouse model. Nevertheless, they have attracted a great attention for the potential clinical applications. Oxygen depletion had been discussed many years ago as a possible mechanism for reduction of the damage after exposure to ultra-high dose rate. However, the mechanism underlying the effect observed in the FLASH radiotherapy remains to be elucidated.