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Phys Med Biol. 2008 Jul 21;53(14):3821-39. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/14/008. Epub 2008 Jun 26.

A 3D pencil-beam-based superposition algorithm for photon dose calculation in heterogeneous media.

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Varian Medical Systems Finland Oy, Paciuksenkatu 21, FIN-00270 Helsinki, Finland.


In this work, a novel three-dimensional superposition algorithm for photon dose calculation is presented. The dose calculation is performed as a superposition of pencil beams, which are modified based on tissue electron densities. The pencil beams have been derived from Monte Carlo simulations, and are separated into lateral and depth-directed components. The lateral component is modeled using exponential functions, which allows accurate modeling of lateral scatter in heterogeneous tissues. The depth-directed component represents the total energy deposited on each plane, which is spread out using the lateral scatter functions. Finally, convolution in the depth direction is applied to account for tissue interface effects. The method can be used with the previously introduced multiple-source model for clinical settings. The method was compared against Monte Carlo simulations in several phantoms including lung- and bone-type heterogeneities. Comparisons were made for several field sizes for 6 and 18 MV energies. The deviations were generally within (2%, 2 mm) of the field central axis d(max). Significantly larger deviations (up to 8%) were found only for the smallest field in the lung slab phantom for 18 MV. The presented method was found to be accurate in a wide range of conditions making it suitable for clinical planning purposes.

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