First Evaluation of Temporal and Spatial Fractionation in Proton Minibeam Radiation Therapy of Glioma-Bearing Rats
(1) Background: Proton minibeam radiation therapy (pMBRT) is a new radiotherapy technique using spatially modulated narrow proton beams. pMBRT results in a significantly reduced local tissue toxicity while maintaining or even increasing the tumor control efficacy as compared to conventional radiotherapy in small animal experiments. In all the experiments performed up to date in tumor bearing animals, the dose was delivered in one single fraction. This is the first assessment on the impact of a temporal fractionation scheme on the response of glioma-bearing animals to pMBRT. (2) Methods: glioma-bearing rats were irradiated with pMBRT using a crossfire geometry. The response of the irradiated animals in one and two fractions was compared. An additional group of animals was also treated with conventional broad beam irradiations. (3) Results: pMBRT delivered in two fractions at the biological equivalent dose corresponding to one fraction resulted in the highest median survival time, with 80% long-term survivors free of tumors. No increase in local toxicity was noted in this group with respect to the other pMBRT irradiated groups. Conventional broad beam irradiations resulted in the most severe local toxicity. (4) Conclusion: Temporal fractionation increases the therapeutic index in pMBRT and could ease the path towards clinical trials.