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Phys Med Biol. 2005 Jul 21;50(14):3375-92. Epub 2005 Jul 6.

Absolute dose calculations for Monte Carlo simulations of radiotherapy beams.

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Department of Medical Physics, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Victoria, BC, Canada.


Monte Carlo (MC) simulations have traditionally been used for single field relative comparisons with experimental data or commercial treatment planning systems (TPS). However, clinical treatment plans commonly involve more than one field. Since the contribution of each field must be accurately quantified, multiple field MC simulations are only possible by employing absolute dosimetry. Therefore, we have developed a rigorous calibration method that allows the incorporation of monitor units (MU) in MC simulations. This absolute dosimetry formalism can be easily implemented by any BEAMnrc/DOSXYZnrc user, and applies to any configuration of open and blocked fields, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans. Our approach involves the relationship between the dose scored in the monitor ionization chamber of a radiotherapy linear accelerator (linac), the number of initial particles incident on the target, and the field size. We found that for a 10 x 10 cm2 field of a 6 MV photon beam, 1 MU corresponds, in our model, to 8.129 x 10(13) +/- 1.0% electrons incident on the target and a total dose of 20.87 cGy +/- 1.0% in the monitor chambers of the virtual linac. We present an extensive experimental verification of our MC results for open and intensity-modulated fields, including a dynamic 7-field IMRT plan simulated on the CT data sets of a cylindrical phantom and of a Rando anthropomorphic phantom, which were validated by measurements using ionization chambers and thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD). Our simulation results are in excellent agreement with experiment, with percentage differences of less than 2%, in general, demonstrating the accuracy of our Monte Carlo absolute dose calculations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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