Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Timothy C. Zhu

Second Advisor

Jarod C. Finlay


PDT for the thoracic cavity provides a promising cancer treatment modality, but improvements in treatment planning, particularly in PDT dosimetry, can be made to improve uniformity of light delivery. When a cavity of arbitrary geometry is illuminated, the fluence increases due to multiple-scattered photons, referred to as the Integrating Sphere Effect (ISE). Current pleural PDT treatment protocol at the University of Pennsylvania monitors light fluence (hereafter simply fluence, measured in W/cm2) via seven isotropic detectors sutured at different locations in thoracic cavity of a patient. This protocol monitors light at discrete locations, but does not provide a measurement of fluence for the thoracic cavity as a whole. Current calculation of light fluence includes direct light only and thus does not account for the unique optical properties of each tissue type present, which in turn affects the accuracy of the calculated light distribution in the surrounding tissue and, in turn, the overall cell death and treatment efficacy.

Treatment planning for pleural PDT can be improved, in part, by considering the contribution of scattered light, which is affected by the two factors of geometry and in vivo optical properties. We expanded the work by Willem Star in regards to the ISE in a spherical cavity. A series of Monte Carlo (MC) simulations were run for semi-infinite planar, spherical, and ellipsoidal geometries for a range of optical properties. The results of these simulations are compared to theory and numerical solutions for fluence in the cavity and at the cavity-medium boundary. The development via MC simulations offers a general method of calculating the required light fluence specialized to each patient, based on the treatment surface area.

The scattered fluence calculation is dependent on in vivo optical properties (μa and μs') of the tissues treated. Diffuse reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopy methods are used to determine the optical properties and oxygenation (reflectance measurements) and drug concentration (fluorescence measurements) of different tissues in vivo, before and after treatment, in patients enrolled the Phase I HPPH study ongoing at the University of Pennsylvania.

This work aims to provide the building blocks essential to pleural PDT treatment planning by more accurately calculating the required fluence using a model that accounts for the effects of treatment geometry and optical properties measured in vivo.  

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