Characterization of vascular damage and hypoxia in experimental head and neck squamous cell carcinomas after irradiation with photons, protons and carbon ions for the validation of bio-mathematical models

Project leaders:
Dr. Christin Glowa (1,2,3,4) (c.glowa[at], Phone: +49-6221-422444)
Prof. Christian Karger (2,3,4) (c.karger[at], Phone: +49-6221-5638965)
Dr. Rebecca Bütof (3,5,6,7) (rebecca.buetof[at], Phone: +49-351-458-18958)
Dr. Antje Dietrich (3,5,6) (antje.dietrich[at], Phone: +49-351-458-7404)

1) Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Abt. Radioonkologie und Strahlentherapie
2) Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Abt. Med. Physik i. d. Strahlentherapie
3) National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology (NCRO)
4) Heidelberg Institute for Radiation Research in Radiation Oncology (HIRO)
5) Universitätsklinikum Dresden, Abt. Strahlentherapie u. Radioonkologie
6) OncoRay Dresden
7) National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), partner site Dresden, Germany

Funded since: August 2016

Project rationale

The aim of the project is the collection of experimental data for the development and validation of bio-mathematical tumor response models. To achieve this, the tumor’s oxygenation status is obtained before and after conventional and hypo-fractionated irradiation with photons, protons and carbon ions. Parameters with relevance to the tumor’s oxygenation status are obtained by methods of imaging and histology and are then compared with regard to the type of irradiation and the fractionation schema.
Based on the scanned histological samples, a three-dimensional dataset representing the tumor’s vessel architecture is to be generated. This dataset is then in turn intended to serve as input for simulations that calculate the impact of the vessel architecture upon the tissue’s response-relevant oxygen distribution. The results serve the testing and the advancement of tumor response models. Moreover, the acquired data from the histological methods and the preclinical imaging can be analyzed for different treatment modalities and the fractionation schema’s impact on hypoxia, perfusion and vascularization at different time points during the treatment. This potentially also allows for the extraction of predictive parameters for acute and chronic hypoxia.

Proton radiography image of a mouse based upon the visualization of small angle proton scattering in the object. The acquired information can be used for the positioning of small animals at experimental beamlines and hence also for image-guided proton irradiation of small animals (Müller, J. et al. Proton radiography for inline treatment planning and positioning verification of small animals. Acta Oncol. 1–7 (2017))