Monte Carlo treatment planning for molecular targeted radiotherapy within the MINERVA system

Joerg Lehmann, Christine Hartmann Siantar, Daniel E. Wessol, Charles A. Wemple, David Nigg, Josh Cogliati, Tom Daly, Marie Anne Descalle, Terry Flickinger, David Pletcher, Gerald L Denardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


The aim of this project is to extend accurate and patient-specific treatment planning to new treatment modalities, such as molecular targeted radiation therapy, incorporating previously crafted and proven Monte Carlo and deterministic computation methods. A flexible software environment is being created that allows planning radiation treatment for these new modalities and combining different forms of radiation treatment with consideration of biological effects. The system uses common input interfaces, medical image sets for definition of patient geometry and dose reporting protocols. Previously, the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Montana State University (MSU) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) had accrued experience in the development and application of Monte Carlo based, three-dimensional, computational dosimetry and treatment planning tools for radiotherapy in several specialized areas. In particular, INEEL and MSU have developed computational dosimetry systems for neutron radiotherapy and neutron capture therapy, while LLNL has developed the PEREGRINE computational system for external beam photon-electron therapy. Building on that experience, the INEEL and MSU are developing the MINERVA (modality inclusive environment for radiotherapeutic variable analysis) software system as a general framework for computational dosimetry and treatment planning for a variety of emerging forms of radiotherapy. In collaboration with this development, LLNL has extended its PEREGRINE code to accommodate internal sources for molecular targeted radiotherapy (MTR), and has interfaced it with the plugin architecture of MINERVA. Results from the extended PEREGRINE code have been compared to published data from other codes, and found to be in general agreement (EGS4-2%, MCNP-10%) (Descalle et al 2003 Cancer Biother. Radiopharm. 18 71-9). The code is currently being benchmarked against experimental data. The interpatient variability of the drug pharmacokinetics in MTR can only be properly accounted for by image-based, patient-specific treatment planning, as has been common in external beam radiation therapy for many years. MINERVA offers 3D Monte Carlo-based MTR treatment planning as its first integrated operational capability. The new MINERVA system will ultimately incorporate capabilities for a comprehensive list of radiation therapies. In progress are modules for external beam photon-electron therapy and boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). Brachytherapy and proton therapy are planned. Through the open application programming interface (API), other groups can add their own modules and share them with the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-958
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

Cite this

Lehmann, J., Siantar, C. H., Wessol, D. E., Wemple, C. A., Nigg, D., Cogliati, J., Daly, T., Descalle, M. A., Flickinger, T., Pletcher, D., & Denardo, G. L. (2005). Monte Carlo treatment planning for molecular targeted radiotherapy within the MINERVA system. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 50(5), 947-958.