Dose computation for therapeutic electron beams

Glegg, Martin Mackenzie (2001) Dose computation for therapeutic electron beams. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The accuracy of electron dose calculations performed by two commercially available treatment planning computers, Varian Cadplan and Helax TMS, has been assessed. Measured values of absorbed dose delivered by a Varian 2100C linear accelerator, under a wide variety of irradiation conditions, were compared with doses calculated by the treatment planning computers. Much of the motivation for this work was provided by a requirement to verify the accuracy of calculated electron dose distributions in situations encountered clinically at Glasgow's Beatson Oncology Centre. Calculated dose distributions are required in a significant minority of electron treatments, usually in cases involving treatment to the head and neck. Here, therapeutic electron beams are subject to factors which may cause non-uniformity in the distribution of dose, and which may complicate the calculation of dose. The beam shape is often irregular, the beam may enter the patient at an oblique angle or at an extended source to skin distance (SSD), tissue inhomogeneities can alter the dose distribution, and tissue equivalent material (such as wax) may be added to reduce dose to critical organs. Technological advances have allowed the current generation of treatment planning computers to implement dose calculation algorithms with the ability to model electron beams in these complex situations. These calculations have, however, yet to be verified by measurement. This work has assessed the accuracy of calculations in a number of specific instances. Chapter two contains a comparison of measured and calculated planar electron isodose distributions. Three situations were considered: oblique incidence, incidence on an irregular surface (such as that which would be arise from the use of wax to reduce dose to spinal cord), and incidence on a phantom containing a small air cavity. Calculations were compared with measurements made by thermoluminescent dosimetry (TLD) in a WTe electron solid water phantom. Chapter three assesses the planning computers' ability to model electron beam penumbra at extended SSD. Calculations were compared with diode measurements in a water phantom. Further measurements assessed doses in the junction region produced by abutting an extended SSD electron field with opposed photon fields. Chapter four describes an investigation of the size and shape of the region enclosed by the 90% isodose line when produced by limiting the electron beam with square and elliptical apertures. The 90% isodose line was chosen because clinical treatments are often prescribed such that a given volume receives at least 90% dose. Calculated and measured dose distributions were compared in a plane normal to the beam central axis. Measurements were made by film dosimetry. While chapters two to four examine relative doses, chapter five assesses the accuracy of absolute dose (or output) calculations performed by the planning computers. Output variation with SSD and field size was examined. Two further situations already assessed for the distribution of relative dose were also considered: an obliquely incident field, and a field incident on an irregular surface. The accuracy of calculations was assessed against criteria stipulated by the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurement (ICRU). The Varian Cadplan and Helax TMS treatment planning systems produce acceptable accuracy in the calculation of relative dose from therapeutic electron beams in most commonly encountered situations. When interpreting clinical dose distributions, however, knowledge of the limitations of the calculation algorithm employed by each system is required in order to identify the minority of situations where results are not accurate. The calculation of absolute dose is too inaccurate to implement in a clinical environment. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: R C Lawson
Keywords: Nuclear physics and radiation
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-72208
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:11
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:11
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72208

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