Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):63-64

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Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):65-72

The most common method to determine enhanced dynamic wedge factors begins with the use of segmented treatment tables. These segmental dose delivery values set as a function of upper jaw position are the backbone of a calculation process coined the "MU Fraction Approximation." Analytical and theoretical attempts have been made to extend and alter the mathematics for this approximation for greater accuracy. A set of linear equations in the form of a matrix are introduced here which correct one published extension of the MU Fraction Approximation as it applies to both symmetric and asymmetric photon fields. The matrix results are compared to data collected from a commissioned Varian Eclipse Treatment Planning System and previously published research for Varian linear accelerators. A total enhanced dynamic wedge factor with excellent accuracy was achieved in comparison to the most accurate previous research found. The deviation seen here is only 0.4% and 1.0% for symmetric and asymmetric fields respectively, for both 6MV and 18MV photon beams.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):73-80

Underdosing of treatment targets can occur in radiation therapy due to electronic disequilibrium around air-tissue interfaces when tumors are situated near natural air cavities. These effects have been shown to increase with the beam energy and decrease with the field size. Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and tomotherapy techniques employ combinations of multiple small radiation beamlets of varying intensities to deliver highly conformal radiation therapy. The use of small beamlets in these techniques may therefore result in underdosing of treatment target in the air-tissue interfaces region surrounding an air cavity. This work was undertaken to investigate dose reductions near the air-water interfaces of 1x1x1 and 3x3x3 cm 3 air cavities, typically encountered in the treatment of head and neck cancer utilizing radiation therapy techniques such as IMRT and tomotherapy using small fields of Co-60, 6 MV and 15 MV photons. Additional investigations were performed for larger photon field sizes encompassing the entire air-cavity, such as encountered in conventional three dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) techniques. The EGSnrc/DOSXYZnrc Monte Carlo code was used to calculate the dose reductions (in water) in air-water interface region for single, parallel opposed and four field irradiations with 2x2 cm 2 (beamlet), 10x2 cm 2 (fan beam), 5x5 and 7x7 cm 2 field sizes. The magnitude of dose reduction in water near air-water interface increases with photon energy; decreases with distance from the interface as well as decreases as the number of beams are increased. No dose reductions were observed for large field sizes encompassing the air cavities. The results demonstrate that Co-60 beams may provide significantly smaller interface dose reductions than 6 MV and 15 MV irradiations for small field irradiations such as used in IMRT and tomotherapy.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):81-87

To investigate the effects of scattered radiation when a thin titanium plate (thickness, 0.05 cm) used for skull fixation in cerebral nerve surgery is irradiated by a 4-MV photon beam. We investigated the dose distribution of radiation inside a phantom that simulates a human head fitted with a thin titanium plate used for post-surgery skull fixation and compared the distribution data measured using detectors, obtained by Monte Carlo (MC) simulations, and calculated using a radiation treatment planning system (TPS). Simulations were shown to accurately represent measured values. The effects of scattered radiation produced by high-Z materials such as titanium are not sufficiently considered currently in TPS dose calculations. Our comparisons show that the dose distribution is affected by scattered radiation around a thin high-Z material. The depth dose is measured and calculated along the central beam axis inside a water phantom with thin titanium plates at various depths. The maximum relative differences between simulation and TPS results on the entrance and exit sides of the plate were 23.1% and − 12.7%, respectively. However, the depth doses do not change in regions deeper than the plate in water. Although titanium is a high-Z material, if the titanium plate used for skull fixation in cerebral nerve surgery is thin, there is a slight change in the dose distribution in regions away from the plate. In addition, we investigated the effects of variation of photon energies, sizes of radiation field and thickness of the plate. When the target to be irradiated is far from the thin titanium plate, the dose differs little from what it would be in the absence of a plate, though the dose escalation existed in front of the metal plate.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):88-99

Brachytherapy treatment planning system (TPS) is necessary to estimate the dose to target volume and organ at risk (OAR). TPS is always recommended to account for the effect of tissue, applicator and shielding material heterogeneities exist in applicators. However, most brachytherapy TPS software packages estimate the absorbed dose at a point, taking care of only the contributions of individual sources and the source distribution, neglecting the dose perturbations arising from the applicator design and construction. There are some degrees of uncertainties in dose rate estimations under realistic clinical conditions. In this regard, an attempt is made to explore the suitability of point kernels for brachytherapy dose rate calculations and develop new interactive brachytherapy package, named as BrachyTPS, to suit the clinical conditions. BrachyTPS is an interactive point kernel code package developed to perform independent dose rate calculations by taking into account the effect of these heterogeneities, using two regions build up factors, proposed by Kalos. The primary aim of this study is to validate the developed point kernel code package integrated with treatment planning computational systems against the Monte Carlo (MC) results. In the present work, three brachytherapy applicators commonly used in the treatment of uterine cervical carcinoma, namely (i) Board of Radiation Isotope and Technology (BRIT) low dose rate (LDR) applicator and (ii) Fletcher Green type LDR applicator (iii) Fletcher Williamson high dose rate (HDR) applicator, are studied to test the accuracy of the software. Dose rates computed using the developed code are compared with the relevant results of the MC simulations. Further, attempts are also made to study the dose rate distribution around the commercially available shielded vaginal applicator set (Nucletron). The percentage deviations of BrachyTPS computed dose rate values from the MC results are observed to be within plus/minus 5.5% for BRIT LDR applicator, found to vary from 2.6 to 5.1% for Fletcher green type LDR applicator and are up to -4.7% for Fletcher-Williamson HDR applicator. The isodose distribution plots also show good agreements with the results of previous literatures. The isodose distributions around the shielded vaginal cylinder computed using BrachyTPS code show better agreement (less than two per cent deviation) with MC results in the unshielded region compared to shielded region, where the deviations are observed up to five per cent. The present study implies that the accurate and fast validation of complicated treatment planning calculations is possible with the point kernel code package.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):100-103

Well-type ionization chamber is often used to measure strength of brachytherapy sources. This study aims to check long term response stability of High Dose Rate (HDR) -1000 Plus well-type ionization chamber in terms of reference air kerma rate (RAKR) of a reference 137 Cs brachytherapy source and recommend an optimum frequency of recalibration. An HDR-1000 Plus well-type ionization chamber, a reference 137 Cs brachytherapy source (CDCSJ5), and a MAX-4000 electrometer were used in this study. The HDR-1000 Plus well-type chamber was calibrated in terms of reference air kerma rate by the Standards Laboratory of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna. The response of the chamber was verified at regular intervals over a period of eight years using the reference 137 Cs source. All required correction factors were applied in the calculation of the RAKR of the 137 Cs source. This study reveals that the response of the HDR-1000 Plus well-type chamber was well within ±0.5% for about three years after calibration/recalibration. However, it shows deviations larger than ±0.5% after three years of calibration/recalibration and the maximum variation in response of the chamber during an eight year period was 1.71%. The optimum frequency of recalibration of a high dose rate well-type chamber should be three years.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):104-112

This study aims to evaluate the performance of a new algorithm for optimization of beam weights in anatomy-based intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The algorithm uses a numerical technique called Gaussian-Elimination that derives the optimum beam weights in an exact or non-iterative way. The distinct feature of the algorithm is that it takes only fraction of a second to optimize the beam weights, irrespective of the complexity of the given case. The algorithm has been implemented using MATLAB with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) option for convenient specification of dose constraints and penalties to different structures. We have tested the numerical and clinical capabilities of the proposed algorithm in several patient cases in comparison with KonRad® inverse planning system. The comparative analysis shows that the algorithm can generate anatomy-based IMRT plans with about 50% reduction in number of MUs and 60% reduction in number of apertures, while producing dose distribution comparable to that of beamlet-based IMRT plans. Hence, it is clearly evident from the study that the proposed algorithm can be effectively used for clinical applications.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):113-119

Radical radiotherapy is one of the options for the management of prostate cancer. In external beam therapy, 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) are the options for delivery of increased radiation dose, as vital organs are very close to the prostate and a higher dose to these structures leads to an increased toxicity. In brachytherapy, low dose rate brachytherapy with permanent implant of radioactive seeds and high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) with remote after loaders are available. A dosimetric analysis has been made on IMRT and HDR brachytherapy plans. Ten cases from each IMRT and HDR brachytherapy have been taken for the study. The analysis includes comparison of conformity and homogeneity indices, D100, D95, D90, D80, D50, D10 and D5 of the target. For the organs at risk (OAR), namely rectum and bladder, V100, V90 and V50 are compared. In HDR brachytherapy, the doses to 1 cc and 0.1 cc of urethra have also been studied. Since a very high dose surrounds the source, the 300% dose volumes in the target and within the catheters are also studied in two plans, to estimate the actual volume of target receiving dose over 300%. This study shows that the prescribed dose covers 93 and 92% of the target volume in IMRT and HDR brachytherapy respectively. HDR brachytherapy delivers a much lesser dose to OAR, compared to the IMRT. For rectum, the V50 in IMRT is 34.0cc whilst it is 7.5cc in HDR brachytherapy. With the graphic optimization tool in HDR brachytherapy planning, the dose to urethra could be kept within 120% of the target dose. Hence it is concluded that HDR brachytherapy may be the choice of treatment for cancer of prostate in the early stage.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):120-122

We investigate the potential in using of using a graphics processor unit (GPU) for Monte-Carlo (MC)-based radiation dose calculations. The percent depth dose (PDD) of photons in a medium with known absorption and scattering coefficients is computed using a MC simulation running on both a standard CPU and a GPU. We demonstrate that the GPU's capability for massive parallel processing provides a significant acceleration in the MC calculation, and offers a significant advantage for distributed stochastic simulations on a single computer. Harnessing this potential of GPUs will help in the early adoption of MC for routine planning in a clinical environment.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):123-127

For the management of mobile tumors, respiratory gating is the ideal option, both during imaging and during therapy. The major advantage of respiratory gating during imaging is that it is possible to create a single artifact-free CT data-set during a selected phase of the patient's breathing cycle. The purpose of the present work is to present a simple technique to measure the time delay during acquisition of a prospectively gated CT. The time delay of a Philips Brilliance BigBore™ (Philips Medical Systems, Madison, WI) scanner attached to a Varian Real-Time Position Management™ (RPM) system (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA) was measured. Two methods were used to measure the CT time delay: using a motion phantom and using a recorded data file from the RPM system. In the first technique, a rotating wheel phantom was altered by placing two plastic balls on its axis and rim, respectively. For a desired gate, the relative positions of the balls were measured from the acquired CT data and converted into corresponding phases. Phase difference was calculated between the measured phases and the desired phases. Using period of motion, the phase difference was converted into time delay. The Varian RPM system provides an external breathing signal; it also records transistor-transistor logic (TTL) 'X-Ray ON' status signal from the CT scanner in a text file. The TTL 'X-Ray ON' indicates the start of CT image acquisition. Thus, knowledge of the start time of CT acquisition, combined with the real-time phase and amplitude data from the external respiratory signal, provides time-stamping of all images in an axial CT scan. The TTL signal with time-stamp was used to calculate when (during the breathing cycle) a slice was recorded. Using the two approaches, the time delay between the prospective gating signal and CT simulator has been determined to be 367 ± 40 ms. The delay requires corrections both at image acquisition and while setting gates for the treatment delivery; otherwise the simulation and treatment may not be correlated with the patient's breathing.]]>

Journal of Medical Physics 2010 35(2):128-128

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