Thomas Bortfeld, PhD

Chief of Physics Division
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Address: Massachusetts General Hospital
Department of Radiation Oncology
100 Blossom Street
Boston MA, 02114
Phone: (617) 724-1180
Detailed Curriculum Vitae: application/pdf

Education and Degrees

MS (Diploma): University of Heidelberg , Germany, 1988, Physics
Ph.D.: University of Heidelberg , Germany, 1990, Applied Physics
Habilitation: University of Heidelberg, Germany, 1995, Physics

Areas of Interest

  • Optimization, Multi-Criteria Optimization
  • Therapy Imaging
  • Proton Radiotherapy
  • Dynamics of Cancer Treatment

Recent Honors

Alfred Breit Award, DEGRO (German Society for Radiation Oncology), 2015 (For work on IMRT)

Science Award: Research Networks, Fraunhofer Society, 2016 (For work on multi-criteria optimization in radiation therapy, with colleagues from Fraunhofer ITWM) 

Honorary Professor, University of Freiburg, Germany, 2017

Glocker medal, DGMP (highest award of the German Medical Physics society), 2018 

Honorary member (for outstanding scientific contributions), European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, 2021 

Elected member, German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), 2021

Recent Keynote Lectures

CARO-COMP-CAMRT joint scientific meeting, Montreal, Canada, opening keynote, 2018 

EPSM, Engineering & Physical Scientists in Medicine Conference, Perth, Australia, 2019

SSRMP, Swiss Society of Radiobiology and Medical Physics, PSI Villigen, Switzerland, 2019

Review Talks

Harvard Applied Physics Colloquium: Physics against Cancer 

In the News

  1. A pioneering approach to cancer treatment
  2. Targeting tumours
  3. Proton therapy teams up with PET imaging
  4. Fighting cancer with mathematics

Selected Recent Publications (total of more than 170 peer-reviewed papers)

  • Yan S, Lu HM, Flanz J, Adams J, Trofimov A, Bortfeld T. Reassessment of the Necessity of the Proton Gantry: Analysis of Beam Orientations From 4332 Treatments at the Massachusetts General Hospital Proton Center Over the Past 10 Years. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016 May 1; 95(1):224-33.
  • Kamran SC, Mueller BS, Paetzold P, Dunlap J, Niemierko A, Bortfeld T, Willers H, Craft D. Multi-criteria optimization achieves superior normal tissue sparing in a planning study of intensity-modulated radiation therapy for RTOG 1308-eligible non-small cell lung cancer patients. Radiother Oncol. 2016 Mar; 118(3):515-20.
  • Baumann M, Krause M, Overgaard J, Debus J, Bentzen SM, Daartz J, Richter C, Zips D, Bortfeld T. Radiation oncology in the era of precision medicine. Nat Rev Cancer. 2016 Apr; 16(4):234-49.
  • Bian J, Sharp GC, Park YK, Ouyang J, Bortfeld T, El Fakhri G. Investigation of cone-beam CT image quality trade-off for image-guided radiation therapy. Phys Med Biol. 2016 May 7; 61(9):3317-46.
  • Gorissen BL, Unkelbach J, Bortfeld TR. Mathematical Optimization of Treatment Schedules. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016 09 01; 96(1):6-8. PMID: 27511841.
  • Craft D, Khan F, Young M, Bortfeld T. The Price of Target Dose Uniformity. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2016 11 15; 96(4):913-914. PMID: 27788961.
  • Müller BS, Shih HA, Efstathiou JA, Bortfeld T, Craft D. Multicriteria plan optimization in the hands of physicians: a pilot study in prostate cancer and brain tumors. Radiat Oncol. 2017 Nov 06; 12(1):168. PMID: 29110689.
  • Bortfeld TR, Loeffler JS. Three ways to make proton therapy affordable. Nature. 2017 09 25; 549(7673):451-453. PMID: 28959981.
  • Apolle R, Rehm M, Bortfeld T, Baumann M, Troost EGC. The clinical target volume in lung, head-and-neck, and esophageal cancer: Lessons from pathological measurement and recurrence analysis. Clin Transl Radiat Oncol. 2017 Apr; 3:1-8. PMID: 29658006.
  • Perkó Z, Bortfeld T, Hong T, Wolfgang J, Unkelbach J. Derivation of mean dose tolerances for new fractionation schemes and treatment modalities. Phys Med Biol. 2018 Feb 05; 63(3):035038.
  • Langhans M, Unkelbach J, Bortfeld T, Craft D. Optimizing highly noncoplanar VMAT trajectories: the NoVo method. Phys Med Biol. 2018 Jan 16; 63(2):025023. PMID: 29336348.
  • Shusharina N, Liao Z, Mohan R, Liu A, Niemierko A, Choi N, Bortfeld T. Differences in lung injury after IMRT or proton therapy assessed by 18FDG PET imaging. Radiother Oncol. 2018 Jan 15. PMID: 29352608.
  • Shusharina N, Craft D, Chen YL, Shih H, Bortfeld T. The clinical target distribution: a probabilistic alternative to the clinical target volume. Phys Med Biol. 2018 Jul 24; 63(15):155001. PMID: 29952319.
  • Hueso-González F, Rabe M, Ruggieri T, Bortfeld T, Verburg JM. A full-scale clinical prototype for proton range verification using prompt gamma-ray spectroscopy. Phys Med Biol. 2018 Jul 23. PMID: 30033938.
  • Lühr A, von Neubeck C, Pawelke J, Seidlitz A, Peitzsch C, Bentzen SM, Bortfeld T, Debus J, Deutsch E, Langendijk JA, Loeffler JS, Mohan R, Scholz M, Sørensen BS, Weber DC, Baumann M, Krause M. "Radiobiology of Proton Therapy": Results of an international expert workshop. Radiother Oncol. 2018 07; 128(1):56-67. PMID: 29861141.
  • Grassberger C, Hong TS, Hato T, Yeap BY, Wo JY, Tracy M, Bortfeld T, Wolfgang JA, Eyler CE, Goyal L, Clark JW, Crane CH, Koay EJ, Cobbold M, DeLaney TF, Jain RK, Zhu AX, Duda DG. Differential Association Between Circulating Lymphocyte Populations With Outcome After Radiation Therapy in Subtypes of Liver Cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018 Aug 01; 101(5):1222-1225. PMID: 29859792.
  • Ajdari A, Niyazi M, Nicolay NH, Thieke C, Jeraj R, Bortfeld T. Towards optimal stopping in radiation therapy. Radiother Oncol. 2019 May; 134:96-100. PMID: 31005230.
  • Ten Eikelder SCM, den Hertog D, Bortfeld T, Perkó Z. Optimal combined proton-photon therapy schemes based on the standard BED model. Phys Med Biol. 2019 Mar 12; 64(6):065011. PMID: 30641502.
  • Richter C, Andronesi OC, Borra RJH, Voigt F, Löck S, Duda DG, Guimaraes AR, Hong TS, Bortfeld TR, Seco J. Inter-patient variations of radiation-induced normal-tissue changes in Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced hepatic MRI scans during fractionated proton therapy. Clin Transl Radiat Oncol. 2019 Sep; 18:113-119. PMID: 31341986.
  • Yu CX, Bortfeld T, Cai J. In the future, disruptive innovation in radiation oncology technology will be initiated mostly by entrepreneurs. Med Phys. 2019 May; 46(5):1949-1952. PMID: 30943312.
  • Hueso-González F, Bortfeld T. Compact Method for Proton Range Verification Based on Coaxial Prompt Gamma-Ray Monitoring: a Theoretical Study. IEEE Transactions on Radiation and Plasma Medical Sciences, DOI: 10.1109/TRPMS.2019.2930362.
  • Shusharina N, Söderberg J, Edmunds D, Löfman F, Shih H, Bortfeld T. Automated delineation of the clinical target volume using anatomically constrained 3D expansion of the gross tumor volume. Radiother Oncol. 2020 May; 146:37-43. PMID: 32114264.
  • Hoffmann A, Oborn B, Moteabbed M, Yan S, Bortfeld T, Knopf A, Fuchs H, Georg D, Seco J, Spadea MF, Jäkel O, Kurz C, Parodi K. MR-guided proton therapy: a review and a preview. Radiat Oncol. 2020 May 29; 15(1):129. PMID: 32471500.
  • Bortfeld TR, Viana MF, Yan S. The societal impact of ion beam therapy. Z Med Phys. 2020 Jul 14. PMID: 32680688.
  • Unkelbach J, Bortfeld T, Cardenas CE, Gregoire V, Hager W, Heijmen B, Jeraj R, Korreman SS, Ludwig R, Pouymayou B, Shusharina N, Söderberg J, Toma-Dasu I, Troost EGC, Vasquez Osorio E. The role of computational methods for automating and improving clinical target volume definition. Radiother Oncol. 2020 12; 153:15-25. PMID: 33039428.
  • Fiorino C, Jeraj R, Clark CH, Garibaldi C, Georg D, Muren L, van Elmpt W, Bortfeld T, Jornet N. Grand challenges for medical physics in radiation oncology. Radiother Oncol. 2020 12; 153:7-14. PMID: 33039425.
  • Ten Eikelder SCM, Ferjancic P, Ajdari A, Bortfeld T, den Hertog D, Jeraj R. Optimal treatment plan adaptation using mid-treatment imaging biomarkers. Phys Med Biol. 2020 12 22; 65(24):245011. PMID: 33053518.
  • Buchner T, Yan S, Li S, Flanz J, Hueso-González F, Kielty E, Bortfeld T, Rus D. A soft robotic device for patient immobilization in sitting and reclined positions for a compact proton therapy system. 2020 8th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference for Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob). 2020; 981-988. doi: 10.1109/BioRob49111.2020.9224389.
  • Bortfeld T, Shusharina N, Craft D. Probabilistic definition of the clinical target volume-implications for tumor control probability modeling and optimization. Phys Med Biol. 2021 01 13; 66(1):01NT01. PMID: 33197905.
  • Shusharina N, Bortfeld T, Cardenas C, De B, Diao K, Hernandez S, Liu Y, Maroongroge S, Söderberg J, Soliman M. Cross-Modality Brain Structures Image Segmentation for the Radiotherapy Target Definition and Plan Optimization. Segmentation, Classification, and Registration of Multi-modality Medical Imaging Data. 2021 Feb 23;12587:3–15. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-71827-5_1. PMCID: PMC7972737.
  • Langhans M, Fechter T, Baltas D, Binder H, Bortfeld T. Automatic Segmentation of Brain Structures for Treatment Planning Optimization and Target Volume Definition. Segmentation, Classification, and Registration of Multi-modality Medical Imaging Data. 2021 Feb 23;12587:40–8. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-71827-5_5. PMCID: PMC7972750.
  • Ajdari A, Xie Y, Richter C, Niyazi M, Duda DG, Hong TS, Bortfeld T. Toward Personalized Radiation Therapy of Liver Metastasis: Importance of Serial Blood Biomarkers. JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2021 Mar; 5:315-325. PMID: 33764817.


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