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Med Phys. 2004 Jan;31(1):142-53.

Evaluation of the first commercial Monte Carlo dose calculation engine for electron beam treatment planning.

Author information

  • 1Medical Physics Department, Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre, 503 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 1C4, Canada. joanna.cygler@orcc.on.ca

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to perform a clinical evaluation of the first commercial (MDS Nordion, now Nucletron) treatment planning system for electron beams incorporating Monte Carlo dose calculation module. This software implements Kawrakow's VMC++ voxel-based Monte Carlo calculation algorithm. The accuracy of the dose distribution calculations is evaluated by direct comparisons with extensive sets of measured data in homogeneous and heterogeneous phantoms at different source-to-surface distances (SSDs) and gantry angles. We also verify the accuracy of the Monte Carlo module for monitor unit calculations in comparison with independent hand calculations for homogeneous water phantom at two different SSDs. All electron beams in the range 6-20 MeV are from a Siemens KD-2 linear accelerator. We used 10,000 or 50,000 histories/cm2 in our Monte Carlo calculations, which led to about 2.5% and 1% relative standard error of the mean of the calculated dose. The dose calculation time depends on the number of histories, the number of voxels used to map the patient anatomy, the field size, and the beam energy. The typical run time of the Monte Carlo calculations (10,000 histories/cm2) is 1.02 min on a 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 Xeon computer for a 9 MeV beam, 10 x 10 cm2 field size, incident on the phantom 15 x 15 x 10 cm3 consisting of 31 CT slices and voxels size of 3 x 3 x 3 mm3 (total of 486,720 voxels). We find good agreement (discrepancies smaller than 5%) for most of the tested dose distributions. We also find excellent agreement (discrepancies of 2.5% or less) for the monitor unit calculations relative to the independent manual calculations. The accuracy of monitor unit calculations does not depend on the SSD used, which allows the use of one virtual machine for each beam energy for all arbitrary SSDs. In some cases the test results are found to be sensitive to the voxel size applied such that bigger systematic errors (>5%) occur when large voxel sizes interfere with the extensions of heterogeneities or dose gradients because of differences between the experimental and calculated geometries. Therefore, user control over voxelization is important for high accuracy electron dose calculations.

PMID:
14761030
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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