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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2004 Jul 1;59(3):872-85.

Matching the dosimetry characteristics of a dual-field Stanford technique to a customized single-field Stanford technique for total skin electron therapy.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06504, USA.



To compare the dosimetry characteristics of a customized single-field and a matching dual-field electron beam for total skin electron therapy (TSET) within the framework of the Stanford technique. To examine and quantify its impact on patient dosimetry.


Two characteristically different electron beams were used for TSET employing the Stanford technique: a single-field beam created from a pencil beam of electrons passing through 7 meters of air and a dual-field beam created from two heavily scattered electron beams directed at oblique angles to patients. The dosimetry characteristics of the two beams were measured by using ionization chambers, radiographic films, and thermal luminescent detectors. The impact of beam characteristic on patient dosimetry was quantified on both anthromorphic phantoms and on patients. Treatment protocols aimed at matching the patient dose between the two systems were established on the basis of these and other measurements.


The dual-field beam was matched to the single-field beam, resulting in approximately the same mean energy (approximately 4.0 MeV) and most probable energy (approximately 4.5 MeV) at their respective treatment source-to-patient-surface distance (SSD). The depth dose curves on the beam axis were nearly identical for both beams. X-ray contamination on the beam axis was 0.43% for the dual-field beam, slightly higher than that (0.4%) of the single-field beam. The beam uniformity, however, was quite different: the dual-field beam was more uniform in the vertical direction but was worse in the lateral direction compared to the single-field beam. For a TSET treatment using the Stanford technique, the composite depth dose curves were nearly identically at the level of beam axis: with an effective depth of maximum buildup (d(max)) at approximately 1 mm below the skin surface and the depth to 80% depth dose at around 6 mm. The overall X-ray contamination was approximately 1.0% and 1.2% for the single-field and dual-field system, respectively. Away from the beam axis level, treatment using either beam was able to deliver over 90% of prescription dose to the main body surfaces. For body surfaces tangential to the beam axis (e.g., top of head and shoulders), the dose was low especially when using the dual-field beam. By adding boost radiation to the tangential surfaces and by adjusting the planned shielding for critical structures, the total dose to the patient over a complete course of TSET treatment could be matched closely for the two systems.


Although the depth doses can be matched at the level of the beam axis, there exist some characteristic differences in the angular distribution of the electrons between the large SSD single-field beam and the short SSD dual-field beam. These differences resulted in lower dose delivered to "tangential" body surfaces and to body structures that extended farther laterally when using the dual-field beam. However, by adjusting the treatment protocol regarding the boost irradiation and planned shielding, the total dose to patients from a complete course of TSET treatment using the dual-field beam can be matched to that given by the single-field beam. Special attention should be paid to the dosimetry at the "tangential" body surfaces when commissioning a dual-field TSET system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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