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Med Phys. 2011 May;38(5):2366-73.

Monte carlo electron source model validation for an Elekta Precise linac.

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  • 1Medical Physics Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300 South Africa.



Electron radiation therapy is used frequently for the treatment of skin cancers and superficial tumors especially in the absence of kilovoltage treatment units. Head-and-neck treatment sites require accurate dose distribution calculation to minimize dose to critical structures, e.g., the eye, optic chiasm, nerves, and parotid gland. Monte Carlo simulations can be regarded as the dose calculation method of choice because it can simulate electron transport through any tissue and geometry. In order to use this technique, an accurate electron beam model should be used.


In this study, a two point-source electron beam model developed for an Elekta Precise linear accelerator was validated. Monte Carlo data were benchmarked against measured water tank data for a set of regular and circular fields and at 95, 100, and 110 cm source-to-skin-distance. EDR2 Film dose distribution data were also obtained for a paranasal sinus treatment case using a Rando phantom and compared with corresponding dose distribution data obtained from Monte Carlo simulations and a CMS XiO treatment planning system. A partially shielded electron field was also evaluated using a solid water phantom and EDR2 film measurements against Monte Carlo simulations using the developed source model.


The major findings were that it could accurately replicate percentage depth dose and beam profile data for water measurements at source-to-skin-distances ranging between 95 and 110 cm over beam energies ranging from 4 to 15 MeV. This represents a stand-off between 0 and 15 cm. Most percentage depth dose and beam profile data (better than 95%) agreed within 2%/2 mm and nearly 100% of the data compared within 3%/3 mm. Calculated penumbra data were within 2 mm for the 20 x 20 cm2 field compared to water tank data at 95 cm source-to-skin-distance over the above energy range. Film data for the Rando phantom case showed gamma index map data that is similar in comparison with the treatment planning system and the Monte Carlo source model. The gamma index showed good agreement (2%/2 mm) between the Monte Carlo source model and the film data.


Percentage depth dose and beam profile data were in most cases within a tolerance of 2%/2 mm. The biggest discrepancies were in most cases recorded in the first 6 mm of the water phantom. Circular fields showed local dose agreement within 3%/3mm. Good agreement was found between calculated dose distributions for a paranasal sinus case between Monte Carlo, film measurements and a CMS XiO treatment planning system. The electron beam model can be easily implemented in the BEAMnrc or DOSXYZnrc Monte Carlo codes enabling quick calculation of electron dose distributions in complex geometries.

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