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Phys Med Biol. 2008 Feb 21;53(4):909-23. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/4/006. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

Magnetic-field-induced dose effects in MR-guided radiotherapy systems: dependence on the magnetic field strength.

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Department of Radiotherapy, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Several institutes are currently working on the development of a radiotherapy treatment system with online MR imaging (MRI) modality. The main difference between their designs is the magnetic field strength of the MRI system. While we have chosen a 1.5 Tesla (T) magnetic field strength, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton will be using a 0.2 T MRI scanner and the company Viewray aims to use 0.3 T. The magnetic field strength will affect the severity of magnetic field dose effects, such as the electron return effect (ERE): considerable dose increase at tissue air boundaries due to returning electrons. This paper has investigated how the ERE dose increase depends on the magnetic field strength. Therefore, four situations where the ERE occurs have been simulated: ERE at the distal side of the beam, the lateral ERE, ERE in cylindrical air cavities and ERE in the lungs. The magnetic field comparison values were 0.2, 0.75, 1.5 and 3 T. Results show that, in general, magnetic field dose effects are reduced at lower magnetic field strengths. At the distal side, the ERE dose increase is largest for B = 0.75 T and depends on the irradiation field size for B = 0.2 T. The lateral ERE is strongest for B = 3 T but shows no effect for B = 0.2 T. Around cylindrical air cavities, dose inhomogeneities disappear if the radius of the cavity becomes small relative to the in-air radius of the secondary electron trajectories. At larger cavities (r > 1 cm), dose inhomogeneities exist for all magnetic field strengths. In water-lung-water phantoms, the ERE dose increase takes place at the water-lung transition and the dose decreases at the lung-water transition, but these effects are minimal for B = 0.2 T. These results will contribute to evaluating the trade-off between magnetic field dose effects and image quality of MR-guided radiotherapy systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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