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J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2009 Oct 15;10(4):2972.

A diagnostic tool for basic daily quality assurance of a Tomotherapy Hi*Art machine.

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Department of Radiotherapy,1 Oncologic Centre, UZ Brussel, Belgium.


To investigate and evaluate the use of an in-house developed diagnostic software tool using the imaging detector data for a quick daily quality assurance check of the output (dose) and lateral profile (cone) of a tomotherapy Hi*Art system. The Hi*Art treatment system is a radiation therapy machine for delivering intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in a helical fashion with an integrated CT scanner used for improved patient positioning before treatment. Since the system was developed specifically for IMRT, flat fields can be obtained by modulating the beam and therefore the flattening filter could be omitted. Because of this, the field has a cone-like profile in both lateral and transversal directions. Patients are treated in a helical fashion with a tight pitch and a constant gantry rotation speed, while modulation is performed by a binary MLC. Consequently dose output per time-unit (dose rate) as well as the shape of the cone-profile are very important for correct patient treatment and should be closely monitored. However, using the company-provided initial tools and conventional dosimetry, this can be a time consuming daily procedure. The aim of this work is to develop a fast, automated method of quality assurance based on the detector signal. A software tool called "tomocheck" running on the operation station has been developed to evaluate the output (dose rate) and the lateral cone profile (energy) of the Hi*Art system, comparing actual output and cone profile with a reference (previously approved against ionization chamber measurements). This is done by using the data of the 640 on-board detector array that are directly retrieved and processed after a specific QA procedure. The detector file consists of the CT detector data and the three monitoring dose chamber readings over a time period of 200 sec. To evaluate the method, the system was benchmarked against ionization chamber measurements and classical IMRT QA methods. Action levels (final status "NOT ACCEPTED") for dose ratio as well as the cone ratio are set to +/- 2%. The QA tool was introduced for daily QA in May 2007. For the following 24 months, a total of 931 morning checks was made on both tomotherapy machines. In 42 cases the check status was "NOT ACCEPTED". In 34 cases the dose ratio (DR) was out of tolerance. The corrected cone ratio (CCR) was outside of specification tolerance in 8 cases. The tomocheck data was related to the ionization chamber measurements for the IMRT plan indicating a close relationship between the CCR and the off-axis measurements. Average dose ratio against the mean value of the on- and off-axis IC measurement indicates that this parameter is a good interpretation of the dose output. This tool makes it possible to perform an easy-to-use and fast basic daily quality assurance check featuring an output as well as an energy evaluation. Ideally this tool should offer also the combined dosimetry check of jaw width, couch speed, leaf latency, output, leaf/gantry synchrony, and lasers. This will be investigated in the future.

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