Send to

Choose Destination
Radiother Oncol. 2010 Dec;97(3):554-60. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2010.06.013.

Clinical significance of multi-leaf collimator positional errors for volumetric modulated arc therapy.

Author information

Department of Medical Physics, BC Cancer Agency-Vancouver Island Center, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.



Multi-leaf collimator (MLC) positional errors occur during intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) deliveries. The impact of such errors has been evaluated for IMRT but not VMAT. The purpose of this work is to understand how random and systematic VMAT MLC positional errors affect the patient dose distribution.


Eight head and neck single arc (360°) VMAT treatment plans were created. Random and two types of systematic MLC errors were simulated for error magnitudes of 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2 and 5mm. The two types of systematic MLC errors were: (1) MLC banks are shifted in the same direction (left or right) and (2) MLC banks are shifted in opposing directions resulting in smaller or larger field shapes. The MLC errors were simulated, for all control points, on both banks of active MLC leaves only.


There is a linear correlation of MLC errors with gEUD for all error types. The gEUD dose sensitivities with MLC error for the PTV70 were -0.2, -0.9, -2.8 and 1.9 Gy/mm for random, systematic shift, systematic close and systematic open MLC errors, respectively. The sensitivity of VMAT plans to MLC positional errors was similar to those of IMRT plans with less than 50 segments but much less than those created for a step and shoot with more than 50 segments or sliding-window delivery technique. To maintain the PTV70 to within 2% would require that MLC open/close errors be within 0.6mm.


Radiation therapy centers should have adequate quality assurance programs in place to assess open/close MLC errors (i.e. leaf gap errors) as they tend to be more impactful than random or systematic MLC shift errors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center