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Phys Med Biol. 2001 Nov;46(11):2985-3006.

Comparison of the IAEA TRS-398 and AAPM TG-51 absorbed dose to water protocols in the dosimetry of high-energy photon and electron beams.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center of Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA TRS-398) and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM TG-51) have published new protocols for the calibration of radiotherapy beams. These protocols are based on the use of an ionization chamber calibrated in terms of absorbed dose to water in a standards laboratory's reference quality beam. This paper compares the recommendations of the two protocols in two ways: (i) by analysing in detail the differences in the basic data included in the two protocols for photon and electron beam dosimetry and (ii) by performing measurements in clinical photon and electron beams and determining the absorbed dose to water following the recommendations of the two protocols. Measurements were made with two Farmer-type ionization chambers and three plane-parallel ionization chamber types in 6, 18 and 25 MV photon beams and 6, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 18 MeV electron beams. The Farmer-type chambers used were NE 2571 and PTW 30001, and the plane-parallel chambers were a Scanditronix-Wellhöfer NACP and Roos, and a PTW Markus chamber. For photon beams, the measured ratios TG-51/TRS-398 of absorbed dose to water Dw ranged between 0.997 and 1.001, with a mean value of 0.999. The ratios for the beam quality correction factors kQ were found to agree to within about +/-0.2% despite significant differences in the method of beam quality specification for photon beams and in the basic data entering into kQ. For electron beams, dose measurements were made using direct N(D,w) calibrations of cylindrical and plane-parallel chambers in a 60Co gamma-ray beam, as well as cross-calibrations of plane-parallel chambers in a high-energy electron beam. For the direct N(D,w) calibrations the ratios TG-51/TRS-398 of absorbed dose to water Dw were found to lie between 0.994 and 1.018 depending upon the chamber and electron beam energy used, with mean values of 0.996, 1.006, and 1.017, respectively, for the cylindrical, well-guarded and not well-guarded plane-parallel chambers. The Dw ratios measured for the cross-calibration procedures varied between 0.993 and 0.997. The largest discrepancies for electron beams between the two protocols arise from the use of different data for the perturbation correction factors p(wall) and p(dis) of cylindrical and plane-parallel chambers, all in 60Co. A detailed analysis of the reasons for the discrepancies is made which includes comparing the formalisms, correction factors and the quantities in the two protocols.

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