The COOLER Code: A Novel Analytical Approach to Calculate Subcellular Energy Deposition by Internal Electron Emitters

Mattia Siragusa, Giorgio Baiocco, Nina Pil Møntegaard Fredericia, Werner Friedland, Torsten Groesser, Andrea Ottolenghi, Mikael Jensen

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    COmputation of Local Electron Release (COOLER), a software program designed for dosimetry assessment at the cellular/subcellular scale, with a given distribution of administered low-energy electron-emitting radionuclides in cellular compartments, which remains a critical step in risk/benefit analysis for advancements in internal radiotherapy. The software is intended to overcome the main limitations of the medical internal radiation dose (MIRD) formalism for calculations of cellular S-values (i.e., dose to a target region in the cell per decay in a given source region), namely, the use of the continuous slowing down approximation (CSDA) and the assumption of a spherical cell geometry. To this aim, we developed an analytical approach, entrusted to a MATLAB-based program, using as input simulated data for electron spatial energy deposition directly derived from full Monte Carlo track structure calculations with PARTRAC. Results from PARTRAC calculations on electron range, stopping power and residual energy versus traveled distance curves are presented and, when useful for implementation in COOLER, analytical fit functions are given. Example configurations for cells in different culture conditions (V79 cells in suspension or adherent culture) with realistic geometrical parameters are implemented for use in the tool. Finally, cellular S-value predictions by the newly developed code are presented for different cellular geometries and activity distributions (uniform activity in the nucleus, in the entire cell or on the cell surface), validated against full Monte Carlo calculations with PARTRAC, and compared to MIRD standards, as well as results based on different track structure calculations (Geant4-DNA). The largest discrepancies between COOLER and MIRD predictions were generally found for electrons between 25 and 30 keV, where the magnitude of disagreement in S-values can vary from 50 to 100%, depending on the activity distribution. In calculations for activity distribution on the cell surface, MIRD predictions appeared to fail the most. The proposed method is suitable for Auger-cascade electrons, but can be extended to any energy of interest and to beta spectra; as an example, the 3H case is also discussed. COOLER is intended to be accessible to everyone (preclinical and clinical researchers included), and may provide important information for the selection of radionuclides, the interpretation of radiobiological or preclinical results, and the general establishment of doses in any scenario, e.g., with cultured cells in the laboratory or with therapeutic or diagnostic applications. The software will be made available for download from the DTU-Nutech website: .
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRadiation Research
    Pages (from-to)204-220
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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