Experimental pencil beam kernels derivation for 3D dose calculation in flattening filter free modulated fields
Azcona JD (1), Barbés B, Wang L, Burguete J. (1) Department of Radiation Physics, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Navarra 31008, Spain. Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA. Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Navarra (IDISNA), Pamplona, Navarra 31008, Spain.
This paper presents a method to obtain the pencil-beam kernels that characterize a megavoltage photon beam generated in a flattening filter free (FFF) linear accelerator (linac) by deconvolution from experimental measurements at different depths.
The formalism is applied to perform independent dose calculations in modulated fields. In our previous work a formalism was developed for ideal flat fluences exiting the linac's head. That framework could not deal with spatially varying energy fluences, so any deviation from the ideal flat fluence was treated as a perturbation.
The present work addresses the necessity of implementing an exact analysis where any spatially varying fluence can be used such as those encountered in FFF beams. A major improvement introduced here is to handle the actual fluence in the deconvolution procedure.
We studied the uncertainties associated to the kernel derivation with this method. Several Kodak EDR2 radiographic films were irradiated with a 10 MV FFF photon beam from two linacs from different vendors, at the depths of 5, 10, 15, and 20cm in polystyrene (RW3 water-equivalent phantom, PTW Freiburg, Germany). The irradiation field was a 50mm diameter circular field, collimated with a lead block. The 3D kernel for a FFF beam was obtained by deconvolution using the Hankel transform.
A correction on the low dose part of the kernel was performed to reproduce accurately the experimental output factors. Error uncertainty in the kernel derivation procedure was estimated to be within 0.2%. Eighteen modulated fields used clinically in different treatment localizations were irradiated at four measurement depths (total of fifty-four film measurements). Comparison through the gamma-index to their corresponding calculated absolute dose distributions showed a number of passing points (3%, 3mm) mostly above 99%.
This new procedure is more reliable and robust than the previous one. Its ability to perform accurate independent dose calculations was demonstrated.
CITATION Phys Med Biol. 2015 Nov 27;61(1):50-66.