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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Mar 1;79(3):927-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.04.064. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

Assessment of out-of-field doses in radiotherapy of brain lesions in children.

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School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.



To characterize the out-of-field doses in pediatric radiotherapy and to identify simple methods by which out-of-field dose might be minimized, with a view to reducing the risk of secondary cancers.


With the aim of characterizing the peripheral doses under different treatment conditions, the dose measurements in an anthropomorphic child phantom were taken in various organs and critical structures outside the primary field using thermoluminescent dosimetry. The doses from a Varian 600C and Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, both at 6 MV, were investigated.


Larger field sizes have been shown to result in greater peripheral doses close to the primary beam, with the difference becoming less significant at large distances, indicating that most of out-of-field doses result from head leakage and collimator scatter>40 cm from the primary field. The use of lead shields has been shown to reduce the absorbed dose resulting from leakage. Aligning the craniocaudal axis of the patient with the x-plane of the collimator resulted in a dose reduction of 40%, for both machines. Out-of-field doses from the Varian Trilogy were shown to be approximately 40% greater than those from the 600C linear accelerator, despite being operated at the same energy.


Out-of-field doses to pediatric patients can be minimized by using simple treatment options, such as using the single-energy mode linear accelerator rather than the multimode, orienting the couch and collimator such that the patient lies along the x-plane and avoiding fields directed along the trunk of the body.

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