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Med Phys. 2000 Apr;27(4):668-75.

Dosimetry of a W-188/Re-188 beta line source for endovascular brachytherapy.

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Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Radiation Oncology Department, Ohio 44195, USA.



The objective was to determine the dosimetry of a potential endovascular brachytherapy source consisting of a coiled tungsten wire mounted on the distal end of a drive wire and neutron-activated to contain the parent-daughter nuclides tungsten-188 (188W) and rhenium-188 (188Re).


A coiled tungsten wire 40 mm in length was neutron-activated by double-neutron capture for 78 hours at 1.9 x 10(15) h/cm2/s to contain 925 MBq (25 mCi) of 188W/188Re in equilibrium. The dose-fall off from this source was determined using three independent methods: (a) Thermoluminescence dosimetry with small LiF-100 rods, (b) Gafchromic film dosimetry, and (c) Bang gel dosimetry. In addition, a Monte Carlo simulation was performed to compute the beta-dose.


Each of the three measurement methods recorded similar values for the dose fall-off within the distances useful for endovascular brachytherapy. The Monte Carlo calculations closely approximated the measured results in the treatment range between 1 and 3 mm and may thus be useful for evaluating changing geometries in the development of catheters and source setups. A 2 min restenosis treatment delivering 20 Gy at a radius of 2 mm would require a source of 1384.8 MBq/cm (37.4 mCi/cm).


The dose distribution from a 188W/188Re source is similar to that of a 90Y-source. An added advantage of the 188W/188Re source is that it can be used for at least two months and still provides fast treatment times because of the parent isotope's half-life of 69 days. The additional gamma emission from the source is too small to impose a serious radiological hazard. The high atomic number and density of the source material allows direct fluoroscopic imaging without additional markers.

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