In Memoriam – Torsten Landberg

Torsten Landberg, MD, Ph.D

With the passing of Torsten Landberg on April 1, 2015 ICRU lost one of its most esteemed and revered supporters and contributors. Torsten was devoted and made many contributions to the mission of ICRU, and was enthusiastic in promulgating its concepts, many of which he helped to develop and articulate. 

Torsten Landberg began his training in surgery in Växjö and Malmö. He joined the Lund Department of Radiology in 1965 where he wrote his thesis on Hodgkin’s disease and was appointed as Associate Professor in 1970. In 1980 he moved to the Department of Oncology in Malmö where he was honored with a Personal Professorship in 1994 and from where he retired in 2000. Among his many rewards, he was elected to Fellowship in the Royal College of Radiology in recognition of his major contributions to ICRU. After his retirement he continued to work and teach at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, the city he loved and enjoyed to show to many of his visiting friends. Who of his friends would not remember him talking enthusiastically about the bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen, whose design and construction he followed in all details? 

Torsten’s contributions to ICRU focused on medical applications beginning with report 42. He later chaired committees for reports 50, 62 and 71. Report 50, in particular, was a landmark report which anticipated the future of volume based reporting and provided the concepts such as GTV,CTV and PTV as tools before the widespread availability of 3D imaging and planning. Report 50 was pivotal to the development of modern radiation therapy. The concepts were adapted in follow up reports related to Electron beam therapy, IMRT, Proton therapy and Brachytherapy and they continue to provide the essential standards and language for ‘prescribing, recording and reporting’ all modern radiation therapy modalities. Torsten’s insights were critical in articulating these important concepts and his enthusiasm, humor and skills as a teacher, often in ESTRO courses, were essential to making the concepts universally known and accepted. 

The field of radiation oncology has lost one of its most original thinkers whose high standards of ethics and integrity inspired generations of radiation oncologists. ICRU shares with many in the scientific and clinical community the loss of a dear friend who leaves behind many fond memories and essential contributions to the daily practice of radiation oncology.

Hans Menzel, Chairman
Renhard Gahbauer
André Wambersie