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Phys Med Biol. 2005 May 7;50(9):2055-69. Epub 2005 Apr 20.

Experimental verification of lung dose with radiochromic film: comparison with Monte Carlo simulations and commercially available treatment planning systems.

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Division of Radiotherapy, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.


The purpose of this study was to assess the absorbed dose in and around lung tissue by performing radiochromic film measurements, Monte Carlo simulations and calculations with superposition convolution algorithms. We considered a layered polystyrene phantom of 12 x 12 x 12 cm3 containing a central cavity of 6 x 6 x 6 cm3 filled with Gammex RMI lung-equivalent material. Two field configurations were investigated, a small 1 x 10 cm2 field and a larger 10 x 10 cm2 field. First, we performed Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the influence of radiochromic film itself on the measured dose distribution when the film intersects a lung-equivalent region and is oriented parallel to the central beam axis. To that end, the film and the lung-equivalent materials were modelled in detail, taking into account their specific composition. Next, measurements were performed with the film oriented both parallel and perpendicular to the central beam axis to verify the results of our Monte Carlo simulations. Finally, we digitized the phantom in two commercially available treatment planning systems, Helax-TMS version 6.1A and Pinnacle version 6.2b, and calculated the absorbed dose in the phantom with their incorporated superposition convolution algorithms to compare with the Monte Carlo simulations. Comparing Monte Carlo simulations with measurements reveals that radiochromic film is a reliable dosimeter in and around lung-equivalent regions when the film is positioned perpendicular to the central beam axis. Radiochromic film is also able to predict the absorbed dose accurately when the film is positioned parallel to the central beam axis through the lung-equivalent region. However, attention must be paid when the film is not positioned along the central beam axis, in which case the film gradually attenuates the beam and decreases the dose measured behind the cavity. This underdosage disappears by offsetting the film a few centimetres. We find deviations of about 3.6% between Monte Carlo and the superposition convolution algorithm of Pinnacle behind the lung region, for both field configurations. Pinnacle is quite accurate in the lung region. Deviations up to 5.6% for the small field are found in the lung region between Monte Carlo and the superposition convolution algorithm of Helax-TMS. Behind the lung region, Helax-TMS is in better agreement with Monte Carlo. Radiochromic film measurements or Monte Carlo simulations are reliable methods to establish the dose in and around lung tissue.

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