Dose uncertainties in photon pencil kernel calculations at off-axis positions
2006 (English)In: Medical physics (Lancaster), ISSN 0094-2405, Vol. 33, no 9, 3418-3425 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The purpose of this study was to investigate the specific problems associated with photon dose calculations in points located at a distance from the central beam axis. These problems are related to laterally inhomogeneous energy fluence distributions and spectral variations causing a lateral shift in the beam quality, commonly referred to as off-axis softening (OAS). We have examined how the dose calculation accuracy is affected when enabling and disabling explicit modeling of these two effects. The calculations were performed using a pencil kernel dose calculation algorithm that facilitates modeling of OAS through laterally varying kernel properties. Together with a multisource model that provides the lateral energy fluence distribution this generates the total dose output, i.e., the dose per monitor unit, at an arbitrary point of interest. The dose calculation accuracy was evaluated through comparisons with 264 measured output factors acquired at 5, 10, and 20 cm depth in four different megavoltage photon beams. The measurements were performed up to 18 cm from the central beam axis, inside square fields of varying size and position. The results show that calculations including explicit modeling of OAS were considerably more accurate, up to 4%, than those ignoring the lateral beam quality shift. The deviations caused by simplified head scatter modeling were smaller, but near the field edges additional errors close to 1% occurred. When enabling full physics modeling in the dose calculations the deviations display a mean value of -0.1%, a standard deviation of 0.7%, and a maximum deviation of -2.2%. Finally, the results were analyzed in order to quantify and model the inherent uncertainties that are present when leaving the central beam axis. The off-axis uncertainty component showed to increase with both off-axis distance and depth, reaching 1% (1 standard deviation) at 20 cm depth. (c) 2006 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 33, no 9, 3418-3425 p.
dosimetry, physiological models, radiation therapy, dose calculation, uncertainties, off-axis, pencil kernel, head scatter
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13322DOI: 10.1118/1.2335488PubMedID: 17022238OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-13322DiVA: diva2:152993