Catalytic activity imperative for nanoparticle dose enhancement in photon and proton therapy.

Gerken, Lukas R H; Gogos, Alexander; Starsich, Fabian H L; David, Helena; Gerdes, Maren E; Schiefer, Hans; Psoroulas, Serena; Meer, David; Plasswilm, Ludwig; Weber, Damien C; Herrmann, Inge K (2022). Catalytic activity imperative for nanoparticle dose enhancement in photon and proton therapy. Nature Communications, 13(1), p. 3248. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41467-022-30982-5

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Nanoparticle-based radioenhancement is a promising strategy for extending the therapeutic ratio of radiotherapy. While (pre)clinical results are encouraging, sound mechanistic understanding of nanoparticle radioenhancement, especially the effects of nanomaterial selection and irradiation conditions, has yet to be achieved. Here, we investigate the radioenhancement mechanisms of selected metal oxide nanomaterials (including SiO2, TiO2, WO3 and HfO2), TiN and Au nanoparticles for radiotherapy utilizing photons (150 kVp and 6 MV) and 100 MeV protons. While Au nanoparticles show outstanding radioenhancement properties in kV irradiation settings, where the photoelectric effect is dominant, these properties are attenuated to baseline levels for clinically more relevant irradiation with MV photons and protons. In contrast, HfO2 nanoparticles retain some of their radioenhancement properties in MV photon and proton therapies. Interestingly, TiO2 nanoparticles, which have a comparatively low effective atomic number, show significant radioenhancement efficacies in all three irradiation settings, which can be attributed to the strong radiocatalytic activity of TiO2, leading to the formation of hydroxyl radicals, and nuclear interactions with protons. Taken together, our data enable the extraction of general design criteria for nanoparticle radioenhancers for different treatment modalities, paving the way to performance-optimized nanotherapeutics for precision radiotherapy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Radiation Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Plasswilm, Ludwig and Weber, Damien Charles


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Springer Nature




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Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2022 12:17

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:20

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