Proton Therapy Physics, Second Edition  book cover
2nd Edition

Proton Therapy Physics, Second Edition

Edited By

Harald Paganetti

ISBN 9780367570781
Published June 30, 2020 by CRC Press
772 Pages 282 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Expanding on the highly successful first edition, this second edition of Proton Therapy Physics has been completely restructured and updated throughout, and includes several new chapters. Suitable for both newcomers in medical physics and more seasoned specialists in radiation oncology, this book provides an in-depth overview of the physics of this radiation therapy modality, eliminating the need to dig through information scattered across medical physics literature.

After tracing the history of proton therapy, the book explores the atomic and nuclear physics background necessary for understanding proton interactions with tissue. The text then covers dosimetry, including beam delivery, shielding aspects, computer simulations, detector systems and measuring techniques for reference dosimetry. Important for daily operations, acceptance testing, commissioning, quality assurance and monitor unit calibrations are outlined. The book moves on to discussions of treatment planning for single- and multiple-field uniform doses, dose calculation concepts and algorithms, and precision and uncertainties for nonmoving and moving targets. Imaging for treatment guidance as well as treatment monitoring is outlined. Finally, the biological implications of using protons from a physics perspective are discussed.

This book is an ideal practical guide for physicians, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, and physicists who already have some experience in radiation oncology. It is also an invaluable reference for graduate students in medical physics programs, physicians in their last year of medical school or residency, and those considering a career in medical physics.


  • Updated with the latest technologies and methods in the field, covering all delivery methods of proton therapy, including beam scanning and passive scattering
  • Discusses clinical aspects, such as treatment planning and quality assurance
  • Offers insight on the past, present, and future of proton therapy from a physics perspective

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Proton Therapy: History and Rational

 Harald Paganetti

Chapter 2. Physics of Proton Interactions in Matter

Bernard Gottschalk

Chapter 3. Proton Accelerators

Marco Schippers

Chapter 4. Characteristics of Clinical Proton Beams

Hsiao-Ming and Jacob Flanz

Chapter  5. Beam Delivery Using Passive Scattering

Roelf Slopsema

Chapter 6. Particle Beam Scanning

Jacob Flanz 

Chapter 7. Secondary Radiation Production and Shielding at Proton Therapy Facilities

Nisy Elizabeth Ipe

Chapter 8. Monte Carlo Simulations

Harald Paganetti

Chapter 9. Detectors, Relative Dosimetry, and Microdosimetry 

Hugo Palmans

Chapter 10. Absolute and Reference Dosimetry

Hugo Palmans

Chapter 11. Acceptance Testing and Commissioning

Zuofeng Li, Roelf Slopsema, Stella Flamp ouri, and Daniel K. Yeung

Chapter 12. Quality Assurance

Juliane Daartz

Chapter 13. Monitor Unit Calibration

Timothy C. Zhu, Haibo Lin, and Jiajian Shen

Chapter 14. Dose Calculation Algorithms

Ben Clasie, Harald Paganetti, and Hanne M. Kooy

Chapter 15. Physics of Treatment Planning for Single-Field Uniform Dose

Martij n Engelsman and Lei Dong

Chapter 16. Physics of Treatment Planning Using Scanned Beams

Anthony Lomax

Chapter 17. Precision and Uncertainties in Planning and Delivery

Daniel K. Yeung and Jatinder R. Palta

Chapter 18. Precision and Uncertainties for Moving Targets

Christoph Bert, Martij n Engelsman, and Antje C. Knopf

Chapter 19. Treatment-Planning Optimization

Alexei V. Trofim ov, Davi d Craft, and Jan Unkelbach

Chapter 20. Proton Image Guidance

Jon Kruse

Chapter 21. In Vivo Dose Verification

Katia Parodi

Chapter 22. The Physics of Proton Biology

Harald Paganetti

Chapter 23. Fully Exploiting the Benefits of Protons: Using Risk Models for Normal Tissue Complications in Treatment Optimization

Peter van Luijk and Marco Schippers

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Harald Paganetti received his PhD in nuclear physics from the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn, Germany in 1992. He subsequently entered the field of medical physics and later joined the physics team at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1998. He is currently the Director of Physics Research for Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School. He has authored and co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and has edited two books on Proton Therapy.

He has made significant contributions to the field of radiation oncology physics, many of which have found their way into clinical practice. Particularly, he is a pioneer in advanced Monte Carlo dose calculations for proton therapy treatment planning, which allowed the reduction of treatment planning margins for many patients, and in four-dimensional dose calculation aiming at a better understanding of motion effects when using radiation therapy for moving targets. He is considered the world expert on the relative biological effectiveness of proton beams and has had a significant impact in biological effect modeling. In 2014 he received the Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School recognizing his teaching and mentoring activities for junior faculty and students. He serves on various committees mainly for the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), for which he was named Fellow in 2014, and American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). He is also a member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP).


"This textbook gives an excellent and comprehensive overview on proton therapy physics and is of value for a variety of different readers. Extending and updating the previous edition has improved the book and kept it timely. While it cannot be complete, it covers the most important aspects and provides plenty of references for further reading. The book will be of great value for beginners as well as for experts in the field of proton therapy and should not be missing in the medical physicist’s book shelf!"
—Prof Christian Karger in Physica Medica (69, 2020, 183)

"Proton Therapy Physics should be a must-have reference book on desks of all research and clinical physicists working in the field of proton therapy. The book is very comprehensive, covering all important aspects of proton therapy physics, including beam delivery, dosimetry, operation, treatment planning, image guidance, and biological efforts. Almost all chapter authors are well known experts in the field. So the chapters are all well written, informative, and up-to-date. More importantly, the editor, Dr. Harald Paganetti is a well-respected, well established researcher in proton therapy physics. I would strongly recommend this book!"
Steve B. Jiang, Professor Vice Chair, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

"Proton Therapy Physics is a comprehensive collection of outstanding chapters on the subject matter. The second edition is a necessary and welcome update of the first edition in this rapidly evolving field. It is edited by Prof. Harald Paganetti, an internationally renowned expert in the physics of proton therapy. It is difficult imagine a more qualified individual than Dr. Paganetti, with his in-depth understanding of physics and biology of protons, to produce such an impressive book. In addition to writing or contributing to four of the chapters himself, he has assembled a team of the well-known experts from all over the world to author the remaining nineteen chapters.
The book covers a full range of topics including physics of interactions of protons with matter, design and characteristics of passively-scattered and scanning proton therapy delivery systems, radiation shielding, relative and absolute dosimetry, commissioning and acceptance testing, dose calculations, design and optimization of treatment plans, imaging for proton range determination, uncertainties in planning and delivery of proton therapy and their management, biological effectiveness of protons, and more. Topics are dealt with in appropriate depth and supplemented with thousands of references for those interested in learning more. The book will serve as an excellent resource for students, trainees, radiation dosimetrists, radiation physicists and radiation oncologists. It will be equally valuable to new entrants in the field and for the experts, both clinical and research, interested in refreshing their knowledge.
The true potential of proton therapy to improve outcomes is yet to be realized. There are significant gaps in our understanding of physical and biological aspects of proton therapy and there are limitations of current techniques and technologies. Current research and technological advances are aimed at overcoming these gaps and limitations. Considering how rapidly the field of proton therapy is changing, I hope Dr. Paganetti and his team of contributors will again produce the next edition in a few years."
Professor Radhe Mohan, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

"CRC Press have updated and expanded on the first edition of Proton Therapy Physics edited by Professor Harold Paganetti which was first published in 2012. The successful first edition has been restructured with the addition of a few new chapters. Originally with 20 chapters the second edition comes with 23 chapters. The second edition also sees the return of all the previous contributing experts, with the addition of a few others. With the significant increase in number of proton therapy centres around the world, this second edition comes at a good time to provide an update on this continually developing field… Similar to the first edition, this book is well structured and well written. The illustrations are of a high quality, however they come black and white in the hardback (colour in the ebook version). In my opinion, this book serves as an outstanding reference for the physics of proton beam therapy, not only to medical physicists but also physicians and radiation therapists. With proton therapy soon to be arriving in Australia I highly recommend this text for those interested in the field. I will certainly be utilising this text in the teaching of students in the area of proton therapy."

— Alexandre M. C. Santos, Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine, in Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (August 2020).