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Radiother Oncol. 1998 Dec;49(3):255-65.

Practical implementation of compensators in breast radiotherapy.

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  • 1Joint Department of Physics, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Trust, Sutton, Surrey, UK.



A method of using electronic portal imaging to design compensators for tangential breast irradiation has been developed. We describe how this has been implemented.


The compensator design method generates wedged and unwedged beam weights, in conjunction with templates for multiple lead-sheet compensators and pseudo-CT outlines. The latter describe the breast and lung profiles in a set of transverse slices. The layers of the compensator and pseudo-CT outlines are transferred to a treatment planning system for verification. The accuracy of the planning system for the high transmission blocks used to describe the compensators has been verified using a plotting tank system. Dose volume histogram data and transaxial and sagittal plan slices have been compared for both standard and compensated treatments for a sample set of five patients.


The planning system predicted the dose at depths of 1.5 and 5 cm to within 2% for the compensators tested. The biggest source of discrepancy was a consequence of the planning system requiring blocks to have integer percentage transmission. For all patients studied, the compensated treatment resulted in a significant reduction in the percentage volume outside the 95-105% dose, with an average reduction of 10.2%. The percentage volume outside the 95-107% dose was also reduced by typically 3.4%. The implementation was found to yield a convenient automatic method of designing compensators using electronic portal imaging and verifying the results using a planning system.


These results indicate that this method of implementation can be used in practice. The dosimetric accuracy of the treatment planning system is limited by the requirement that blocks should be of integer transmission, but this effect is small.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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