The development of a Monte Carlo system to verify radiotherapy treatment dose calculations

Crowe, Scott, Kairn, Tanya, & Fielding, Andrew L. (2009) The development of a Monte Carlo system to verify radiotherapy treatment dose calculations. In 10th Biennial ESTRO, 30 August - 3 September 2009, Maastricht, Netherlands. (Unpublished)


Recent advances in the planning and delivery of radiotherapy treatments have resulted in improvements in the accuracy and precision with which therapeutic radiation can be administered. As the complexity of the treatments increases it becomes more difficult to predict the dose distribution in the patient accurately. Monte Carlo methods have the potential to improve the accuracy of the dose calculations and are increasingly being recognised as the “gold standard” for predicting dose deposition in the patient.

In this study, software has been developed that enables the transfer of treatment plan information from the treatment planning system to a Monte Carlo dose calculation engine. A database of commissioned linear accelerator models (Elekta Precise and Varian 2100CD at various energies) has been developed using the EGSnrc/BEAMnrc Monte Carlo suite. Planned beam descriptions and CT images can be exported from the treatment planning system using the DICOM framework. The information in these files is combined with an appropriate linear accelerator model to allow the accurate calculation of the radiation field incident on a modelled patient geometry. The Monte Carlo dose calculation results are combined according to the monitor units specified in the exported plan. The result is a 3D dose distribution that could be used to verify treatment planning system calculations.

The software, MCDTK (Monte Carlo Dicom ToolKit), has been developed in the Java programming language and produces BEAMnrc and DOSXYZnrc input files, ready for submission on a high-performance computing cluster. The code has been tested with the Eclipse (Varian Medical Systems), Oncentra MasterPlan (Nucletron B.V.) and Pinnacle3 (Philips Medical Systems) planning systems. In this study the software was validated against measurements in homogenous and heterogeneous phantoms. Monte Carlo models are commissioned through comparison with quality assurance measurements made using a large square field incident on a homogenous volume of water. This study aims to provide a valuable confirmation that Monte Carlo calculations match experimental measurements for complex fields and heterogeneous media.

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ID Code: 57737
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: Monte Carlo, radiation therapy, dosimetry
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > OTHER PHYSICAL SCIENCES (029900) > Medical Physics (029903)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 The Authors
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2013 22:48
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2013 22:49

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