Influence of intrinsic biological variability on the outcomes of proton radiotherapy in head and neck cancer


Principal Investigators: dr. Dik van Gent (Erasmus MC), dr. ir. Danny Lathouwers (TU Delft), dr  Jeremy Brown (TU Delft), Dr. Danny Lathouwers (TU Delft)

PhD students: Katrin Pachler (Erasmus MC), Celebrity Groenendijk (TU Delft), Mieke Bavelaar (Erasmus MC)

Funding: HollandPTC-Varian 2019


The main aim of this project is to identify biological factors that influence the outcomes of proton radiotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and use them to develop a predictive framework to estimate cellular/tissue response as a function of linear energy transfer (LET) and dose (rate).

We will achieve this by addressing the following questions:

  • What types of DNA damage occur after proton irradiation of different LET and/or position relative to Bragg peak and which pathways are involved in their repair?
  • How pronounced is the inter-patient heterogeneity in tumor response to proton irradiation and can it be correlated with specific molecular traits?
  • Can we predict the relative sensitivity of individual tumors to proton versus photon therapy?