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Title: Automatic determination of primary electron beam parameters in Monte Carlo simulation

Abstract

In order to obtain realistic and reliable Monte Carlo simulations of medical linac photon beams, an accurate determination of the parameters that define the primary electron beam that hits the target is a fundamental step. In this work we propose a new methodology to commission photon beams in Monte Carlo simulations that ensures the reproducibility of a wide range of clinically useful fields. For such purpose accelerated Monte Carlo simulations of 2x2, 10x10, and 20x20 cm{sup 2} fields at SSD=100 cm are carried out for several combinations of the primary electron beam mean energy and radial FWHM. Then, by performing a simultaneous comparison with the correspondent measurements for these same fields, the best combination is selected. This methodology has been employed to determine the characteristics of the primary electron beams that best reproduce a Siemens PRIMUS and a Varian 2100 CD machine in the Monte Carlo simulations. Excellent agreements were obtained between simulations and measurements for a wide range of field sizes. Because precalculated profiles are stored in databases, the whole commissioning process can be fully automated, avoiding manual fine-tunings. These databases can also be used to characterize any accelerators of the same model from different sites.

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Departamento de Fisica de Particulas, Facultade de Fisica, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
  2. (Spain)
  3. (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20951094
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: DOI: 10.1118/1.2514155; (c) 2007 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; COMMISSIONING; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ELECTRON BEAMS; LINEAR ACCELERATORS; MONTE CARLO METHOD; PHOTON BEAMS; RADIOTHERAPY; TUNING

Citation Formats

Pena, Javier, Gonzalez-Castano, Diego M., Gomez, Faustino, Sanchez-Doblado, Francisco, Hartmann, Guenther H., Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Radiofisica and Departamento de Fisiologia Medica y Biofisica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla, and Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Abt. Medizinische Physik, Heidelberg. Automatic determination of primary electron beam parameters in Monte Carlo simulation. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1118/1.2514155.
Pena, Javier, Gonzalez-Castano, Diego M., Gomez, Faustino, Sanchez-Doblado, Francisco, Hartmann, Guenther H., Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Radiofisica and Departamento de Fisiologia Medica y Biofisica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla, & Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Abt. Medizinische Physik, Heidelberg. Automatic determination of primary electron beam parameters in Monte Carlo simulation. United States. doi:10.1118/1.2514155.
Pena, Javier, Gonzalez-Castano, Diego M., Gomez, Faustino, Sanchez-Doblado, Francisco, Hartmann, Guenther H., Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Radiofisica and Departamento de Fisiologia Medica y Biofisica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla, and Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Abt. Medizinische Physik, Heidelberg. Thu . "Automatic determination of primary electron beam parameters in Monte Carlo simulation". United States. doi:10.1118/1.2514155.
@article{osti_20951094,
title = {Automatic determination of primary electron beam parameters in Monte Carlo simulation},
author = {Pena, Javier and Gonzalez-Castano, Diego M. and Gomez, Faustino and Sanchez-Doblado, Francisco and Hartmann, Guenther H. and Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Radiofisica and Departamento de Fisiologia Medica y Biofisica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla and Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Abt. Medizinische Physik, Heidelberg},
abstractNote = {In order to obtain realistic and reliable Monte Carlo simulations of medical linac photon beams, an accurate determination of the parameters that define the primary electron beam that hits the target is a fundamental step. In this work we propose a new methodology to commission photon beams in Monte Carlo simulations that ensures the reproducibility of a wide range of clinically useful fields. For such purpose accelerated Monte Carlo simulations of 2x2, 10x10, and 20x20 cm{sup 2} fields at SSD=100 cm are carried out for several combinations of the primary electron beam mean energy and radial FWHM. Then, by performing a simultaneous comparison with the correspondent measurements for these same fields, the best combination is selected. This methodology has been employed to determine the characteristics of the primary electron beams that best reproduce a Siemens PRIMUS and a Varian 2100 CD machine in the Monte Carlo simulations. Excellent agreements were obtained between simulations and measurements for a wide range of field sizes. Because precalculated profiles are stored in databases, the whole commissioning process can be fully automated, avoiding manual fine-tunings. These databases can also be used to characterize any accelerators of the same model from different sites.},
doi = {10.1118/1.2514155},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 3,
volume = 34,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Mar 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Thu Mar 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}
  • For Monte Carlo linac simulations and patient dose calculations, it is important to accurately determine the phase space parameters of the initial electron beam incident on the target. These parameters, such as mean energy and radial intensity distribution, have traditionally been determined by matching the calculated dose distributions with the measured dose distributions through a trial and error process. This process is very time consuming and requires a lot of Monte Carlo simulation experience and computational resources. In this paper, we propose an easy, efficient, and accurate method for the determination of the initial beam parameters. We hypothesize that (1)more » for one type of linacs, the geometry and material of major components of the treatment head are the same; the only difference is the phase space parameters of the initial electron beam incident on the target, and (2) most linacs belong to a limited number of linac types. For each type of linacs, Monte Carlo treatment planning system (MC-TPS) vendors simulate the treatment head and calculate the three-dimensional (3D) dose distribution in water phantom for a grid of initial beam energies and radii. The simulation results (phase space files and dose distribution files) are then stored in a data library. When a MC-TPS user tries to model their linac which belongs to the same type, a standard set of measured dose data is submitted and compared with the calculated dose distributions to determine the optimal combination of initial beam energy and radius. We have applied this method to the 6 MV beam of a Varian 21EX linac. The linac was simulated using EGSNRC/BEAM code and the dose in water phantom was calculated using EGSNRC/DOSXYZ. We have also studied issues related to the proposed method. Several common cost functions were tested for comparing measured and calculated dose distributions, including {chi}{sup 2}, mean absolute error, dose difference at the penumbra edge point, slope of the dose difference of the lateral profile, and the newly proposed {kappa}{sub {alpha}} factor (defined as the fraction of the voxels with absolute dose difference less than {alpha}%). It was found that the use of the slope of the lateral profile difference or the difference of the penumbra edge points may lead to inaccurate determination of the initial beam parameters. We also found that in general the cost function value is very sensitive to the simulation statistical uncertainty, and there is a tradeoff between uncertainty and specificity. Due to the existence of statistical uncertainty in simulated dose distributions, it is practically impossible to determine the best energy/radius combination; we have to accept a group of energy/radius combinations. We have also investigated the minimum required data set for accurate determination of the initial beam parameters. We found that the percent depth dose curves along or only a lateral profile at certain depth for a large field size is not sufficient and the minimum data set should include several lateral profiles at various depths as well as the central axis percent depth dose curve for a large field size.« less
  • Purpose: To individually benchmark the incident electron parameters in a Monte Carlo model of an Elekta linear accelerator operating at 6 and 15 MV. The main objective is to establish a simplified but still precise benchmarking procedure that allows accurate dose calculations of advanced treatment techniques. Methods: The EGSnrc Monte Carlo user codes BEAMnrc and DOSXYZnrc are used for photon beam simulations and dose calculations, respectively. A 5 x 5 cm{sup 2} field is used to determine both the incident electron energy and the electron radial intensity. First, the electron energy is adjusted to match the calculated depth dose tomore » the measured one. Second, the electron radial intensity is adjusted to make the calculated dose profile in the penumbrae region match the penumbrae measured by GafChromic EBT film. Finally, the mean angular spread of the incident electron beam is determined by matching calculated and measured cross-field profiles of large fields. The beam parameters are verified for various field sizes and shapes. Results: The penumbrae measurements revealed a non-circular electron radial intensity distribution for the 6 MV beam, while a circular electron radial intensity distribution could best describe the 15 MV beam. These electron radial intensity distributions, given as the standard deviation of a Gaussian distribution, were found to be 0.25 mm (in-plane) and 1.0 mm (cross-plane) for the 6 MV beam and 0.5 mm (both in-plane and cross-plane) for the 15 MV beam. Introducing a small mean angular spread of the incident electron beam has a considerable impact on the lateral dose profiles of large fields. The mean angular spread was found to be 0.7 deg. and 0.5 deg. for the 6 and 15 MV beams, respectively. Conclusions: The incident electron beam parameters in a Monte Carlo model of a linear accelerator could be precisely and independently determined by the benchmarking procedure proposed. As the dose distribution in the penumbra region is insensitive to moderate changes in electron energy and angular spread, accurate penumbra measurements is feasible for benchmarking the electron radial intensity distribution. This parameter is particularly important for accurate dosimetry of mlc-shaped fields and small fields.« less
  • Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare and validate three methods to simulate radiographic image detectors with the Monte Carlo software MCNP/MCNPX in a time efficient way. Methods: The first detector model was the standard semideterministic radiography tally, which has been used in previous image simulation studies. Next to the radiography tally two alternative stochastic detector models were developed: A perfect energy integrating detector and a detector based on the energy absorbed in the detector material. Validation of three image detector models was performed by comparing calculated scatter-to-primary ratios (SPRs) with the published and experimentally acquired SPR values.more » Results: For mammographic applications, SPRs computed with the radiography tally were up to 44% larger than the published results, while the SPRs computed with the perfect energy integrating detectors and the blur-free absorbed energy detector model were, on the average, 0.3% (ranging from -3% to 3%) and 0.4% (ranging from -5% to 5%) lower, respectively. For general radiography applications, the radiography tally overestimated the measured SPR by as much as 46%. The SPRs calculated with the perfect energy integrating detectors were, on the average, 4.7% (ranging from -5.3% to -4%) lower than the measured SPRs, whereas for the blur-free absorbed energy detector model, the calculated SPRs were, on the average, 1.3% (ranging from -0.1% to 2.4%) larger than the measured SPRs. Conclusions: For mammographic applications, both the perfect energy integrating detector model and the blur-free energy absorbing detector model can be used to simulate image detectors, whereas for conventional x-ray imaging using higher energies, the blur-free energy absorbing detector model is the most appropriate image detector model. The radiography tally overestimates the scattered part and should therefore not be used to simulate radiographic image detectors.« less
  • Purpose: Monte Carlo codes are becoming important tools for proton beam dosimetry. However, the relationships between the customizing parameters and percentage depth dose (PDD) of GATE and PHITS codes have not been reported which are studied for PDD and proton range compared to the FLUKA code and the experimental data. Methods: The beam delivery system of the Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center was modeled for the uniform scanning beam in FLUKA and transferred identically into GATE and PHITS. This computational model was built from the blue print and validated with the commissioning data. Three parameters evaluated are the maximummore » step size, cut off energy and physical and transport model. The dependence of the PDDs on the customizing parameters was compared with the published results of previous studies. Results: The optimal parameters for the simulation of the whole beam delivery system were defined by referring to the calculation results obtained with each parameter. Although the PDDs from FLUKA and the experimental data show a good agreement, those of GATE and PHITS obtained with our optimal parameters show a minor discrepancy. The measured proton range R90 was 269.37 mm, compared to the calculated range of 269.63 mm, 268.96 mm, and 270.85 mm with FLUKA, GATE and PHITS, respectively. Conclusion: We evaluated the dependence of the results for PDDs obtained with GATE and PHITS Monte Carlo generalpurpose codes on the customizing parameters by using the whole computational model of the treatment nozzle. The optimal parameters for the simulation were then defined by referring to the calculation results. The physical model, particle transport mechanics and the different geometrybased descriptions need accurate customization in three simulation codes to agree with experimental data for artifact-free Monte Carlo simulation. This study was supported by Grants-in Aid for Cancer Research (H22-3rd Term Cancer Control-General-043) from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 23791419), and JSPS Core-to-Core program (No. 23003). The authors have no conflict of interest.« less
  • Purpose: The Monte Carlo simulation of electron transport in Linac targets using the condensed history technique is known to be problematic owing to a potential dependence of absorbed dose distributions on the electron step length. In the PENELOPE code, the step length is partially determined by the transport parameters C1 and C2. The authors have investigated the effect on the absorbed dose distribution of the values given to these parameters in the target. Methods: A monoenergetic 6.26 MeV electron pencil beam from a point source was simulated impinging normally on a cylindrical tungsten target. Electrons leaving the tungsten were discarded.more » Radial absorbed dose profiles were obtained at 1.5 cm of depth in a water phantom located at 100 cm for values of C1 and C2 in the target both equal to 0.1, 0.01, or 0.001. A detailed simulation case was also considered and taken as the reference. Additionally, lateral dose profiles were estimated and compared with experimental measurements for a 6 MV photon beam of a Varian Clinac 2100 for the cases of C1 and C2 both set to 0.1 or 0.001 in the target. Results: On the central axis, the dose obtained for the case C1 = C2 = 0.1 shows a deviation of (17.2% ± 1.2%) with respect to the detailed simulation. This difference decreases to (3.7% ± 1.2%) for the case C1 = C2 = 0.01. The case C1 = C2 = 0.001 produces a radial dose profile that is equivalent to that of the detailed simulation within the reached statistical uncertainty of 1%. The effect is also appreciable in the crossline dose profiles estimated for the realistic geometry of the Linac. In another simulation, it was shown that the error made by choosing inappropriate transport parameters can be masked by tuning the energy and focal spot size of the initial beam. Conclusions: The use of large path lengths for the condensed simulation of electrons in a Linac target with PENELOPE conducts to deviations of the dose in the patient or phantom. Based on the results obtained in this work, values of C1 and C2 larger than 0.001 should not be used in Linac targets without further investigation.« less