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Med Phys. 2005 Nov;32(11):3286-94.

Final Aperture Superposition Technique applied to fast calculation of electron output factors and depth dose curves.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, UCSF, San Francisco, California 94143-1708, USA. faddegon@radonc17.ucsf.edu

Abstract

The Final Aperture Superposition Technique (FAST) is described and applied to accurate, near instantaneous calculation of the relative output factor (ROF) and central axis percentage depth dose curve (PDD) for clinical electron beams used in radiotherapy. FAST is based on precalculation of dose at select points for the two extreme situations of a fully open final aperture and a final aperture with no opening (fully shielded). This technique is different than conventional superposition of dose deposition kernels: The precalculated dose is differential in position of the electron or photon at the downstream surface of the insert. The calculation for a particular aperture (x-ray jaws or MLC, insert in electron applicator) is done with superposition of the precalculated dose data, using the open field data over the open part of the aperture and the fully shielded data over the remainder. The calculation takes explicit account of all interactions in the shielded region of the aperture except the collimator effect: Particles that pass from the open part into the shielded part, or visa versa. For the clinical demonstration, FAST was compared to full Monte Carlo simulation of 10 x 10, 2.5 x 2.5, and 2 x 8 cm2 inserts. Dose was calculated to 0.5% precision in 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.2 cm3 voxels, spaced at 0.2 cm depth intervals along the central axis, using detailed Monte Carlo simulation of the treatment head of a commercial linear accelerator for six different electron beams with energies of 6-21 MeV. Each simulation took several hours on a personal computer with a 1.7 Mhz processor. The calculation for the individual inserts, done with superposition, was completed in under a second on the same PC. Since simulations for the pre calculation are only performed once, higher precision and resolution can be obtained without increasing the calculation time for individual inserts. Fully shielded contributions were largest for small fields and high beam energy, at the surface, reaching a maximum of 5.6% at 21 MeV. Contributions from the collimator effect were largest for the large field size, high beam energy, and shallow depths, reaching a maximum of 4.7% at 21 MeV. Both shielding contributions and the collimator effect need to be taken into account to achieve an accuracy of 2%. FAST takes explicit account of the shielding contributions. With the collimator effect set to that of the largest field in the FAST calculation, the difference in dose on the central axis (product of ROF and PDD) between FAST and full simulation was generally under 2%. The maximum difference of 2.5% exceeded the statistical precision of the calculation by four standard deviations. This occurred at 18 MeV for the 2.5 x 2.5 cm2 field. The differences are due to the method used to account for the collimator effect.

PMID:
16370417
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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