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Med Phys. 2009 Jun;36(6):2181-92.

Dosimetric characterization and application of an imaging beam line with a carbon electron target for megavoltage cone beam computed tomography.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52245, USA.


Imaging dose from megavoltage cone beam computed tomography (MVCBCT) can be significantly reduced without loss of image quality by using an imaging beam line (IBL), with no flattening filter and a carbon, rather than tungsten, electron target. The IBL produces a greater keV-range x-ray fluence than the treatment beam line (TBL), which results in a more optimal detector response. The IBL imaging dose is not necessarily negligible, however. In this work an IBL was dosimetrically modeled with the Philips Pinnacle3 treatment planning system (TPS), verified experimentally, and applied to clinical cases. The IBL acquisition dose for a 200 degrees gantry rotation was verified in a customized acrylic cylindrical phantom at multiple imaging field sizes with 196 ion chamber measurements. Agreement between the measured and calculated IBL dose was quantified with the 3D gamma index. Representative IBL and TBL imaging dose distributions were calculated for head and neck and prostate patients and included in treatment plans using the imaging dose incorporation (IDI) method. Surface dose was measured for the TBL and IBL for four head and neck cancer patients with MOSFETs. The IBL model, when compared to the percentage depth dose and profile measurements, had 97% passing gamma indices for dosimetric and distance acceptance criteria of 3%, 3 mm, and 100% passed for 5.2%, 5.2 mm. For the ion chamber measurements of phantom image acquisition dose, the IBL model had 93% passing gamma indices for acceptance criteria of 3%, 3 mm, and 100% passed for 4%, 4 mm. Differences between the IBL- and TBL-based IMRT treatment plans created with the IDI method were dosimetrically insignificant for both the prostate and head and neck cases. For IBL and TBL beams with monitor unit values that would result in the delivery of the same dose to the depth of maximum dose under standard calibration conditions, the IBL imaging surface dose was higher than the TBL imaging surface dose by an average of 18%, with a standard deviation of 8% (p = 2 x 10(-6)). The IBL can be modeled with acceptable accuracy using a standard TPS, and accounting for IBL dose in treatment plans with the IDI method is straightforward. The resulting composite dose distributions, assuming similar imaging doses, are negligibly different from those of the TBL. The increased IBL surface dose relative to the TBL is likely clinically insignificant.

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