Prog Med Phys.  2020 Sep;31(3):71-80. 10.14316/pmp.2020.31.3.71.

Carbon Ion Therapy: A Review of an Advanced Technology

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Institute of Radiation Medicine, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Robotics Research Laboratory for Extreme Environments, Advanced Institute of Convergence Technology, Suwon, Korea
  • 5Department of Radiation Oncology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


This paper provides a brief review of the advanced technologies for carbon ion radiotherapy (CIRT), with a focus on current developments. Compared to photon beam therapy, treatment using heavy ions, especially a carbon beam, has potential advantages due to its physical and biological pro perties. Carbon ion beams with high linear energy transfer demonstrate high relative biological effec­tiveness in cell killing, particularly at the Bragg peak. With these unique properties, CIRT allows for accurate targeting and dose escalation for tumors with better sparing of adjacent normal tissues. Recently, the available CIRT technologies included fast pencil beam scanning, super­con ducting rotating gantry, respiratory motion management, and accurate beam modeling for the treat­ment planning system. These techniques provide precise treatment, operational effi­ciency, and patient comfort. Currently, there are 12 CIRT facilities worldwide; with technological improve­ments, they continue to grow in number. Ongoing technological developments include the use of multiple ion beams, effective beam delivery, accurate biological modeling, and downsizing the facility.


Carbon ion radiation therapy; Advanced techniques; Superconducting gantry; Effective beam delivery; Advanced beam modeling
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