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Phys Med Biol. 2006 May 21;51(10):2549-66. Epub 2006 May 4.

Commissioning stereotactic radiosurgery beams using both experimental and theoretical methods.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, B-902, TVC, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232-5671, USA.


The purpose of this investigation is to study the feasibility of using an alternative method to commission stereotactic radiosurgery beams shaped by micro multi-leaf collimators by using Monte Carlo simulations to obtain beam characteristics of small photon beams, such as incident beam particle fluence and energy distributions, scatter ratios, depth-dose curves and dose profiles where measurements are impossible or difficult. Ionization chambers and diode detectors with different sensitive volumes were used in the measurements in a water phantom and the Monte Carlo codes BEAMnrc/DOSXYZnrc were used in the simulation. The Monte Carlo calculated data were benchmarked against measured data for photon beams with energies of 6 MV and 10 MV produced from a Varian Trilogy accelerator. The measured scatter ratios and cross-beam dose profiles for very small fields are shown to be not only dependent on the size of the sensitive volume of the detector used but also on the type of detectors. It is known that the response of some detectors changes at small field sizes. Excellent agreement was seen between scatter ratios measured with a small ion chamber and those calculated from Monte Carlo simulations. The values of scatter ratios, for field sizes from 6 x 6 mm2 to 98 x 98 mm2, range from 0.67 to 1.0 and from 0.59 to 1.0 for 6 and 10 MV, respectively. The Monte Carlo calculations predicted that the incident beam particle fluence is strongly affected by the X-Y-jaw openings, especially for small fields due to the finite size of the radiation source. Our measurement confirmed this prediction. This study demonstrates that Monte Carlo calculations not only provide accurate dose distributions for small fields where measurements are difficult but also provide additional beam characteristics that cannot be obtained from experimental methods. Detailed beam characteristics such as incident photon fluence distribution, energy spectra, including composition of primary and scattered photons, can be independently used in dose calculation models and to improve the accuracy of measurements with detectors with an energy-dependent response. Furthermore, when there are discrepancies between results measured with different detectors, the Monte Carlo calculated values can indicate the most correct result. The data set presented in this study can be used as a reference in commissioning stereotactic radiosurgery beams shaped by a BrainLAB m3 on a Varian 2100EX or 600C accelerator.

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