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Title: Analysis of the track- and dose-averaged LET and LET spectra in proton therapy using the GEANT4 Monte Carlo code

Purpose: The motivation of this study was to find and eliminate the cause of errors in dose-averaged linear energy transfer (LET) calculations from therapeutic protons in small targets, such as biological cell layers, calculated using the GEANT 4 Monte Carlo code. Furthermore, the purpose was also to provide a recommendation to select an appropriate LET quantity from GEANT 4 simulations to correlate with biological effectiveness of therapeutic protons. Methods: The authors developed a particle tracking step based strategy to calculate the average LET quantities (track-averaged LET, LET{sub t} and dose-averaged LET, LET{sub d}) using GEANT 4 for different tracking step size limits. A step size limit refers to the maximally allowable tracking step length. The authors investigated how the tracking step size limit influenced the calculated LET{sub t} and LET{sub d} of protons with six different step limits ranging from 1 to 500 μm in a water phantom irradiated by a 79.7-MeV clinical proton beam. In addition, the authors analyzed the detailed stochastic energy deposition information including fluence spectra and dose spectra of the energy-deposition-per-step of protons. As a reference, the authors also calculated the averaged LET and analyzed the LET spectra combining the Monte Carlo method and the deterministicmore » method. Relative biological effectiveness (RBE) calculations were performed to illustrate the impact of different LET calculation methods on the RBE-weighted dose. Results: Simulation results showed that the step limit effect was small for LET{sub t} but significant for LET{sub d}. This resulted from differences in the energy-deposition-per-step between the fluence spectra and dose spectra at different depths in the phantom. Using the Monte Carlo particle tracking method in GEANT 4 can result in incorrect LET{sub d} calculation results in the dose plateau region for small step limits. The erroneous LET{sub d} results can be attributed to the algorithm to determine fluctuations in energy deposition along the tracking step in GEANT 4. The incorrect LET{sub d} values lead to substantial differences in the calculated RBE. Conclusions: When the GEANT 4 particle tracking method is used to calculate the average LET values within targets with a small step limit, such as smaller than 500 μm, the authors recommend the use of LET{sub t} in the dose plateau region and LET{sub d} around the Bragg peak. For a large step limit, i.e., 500 μm, LET{sub d} is recommended along the whole Bragg curve. The transition point depends on beam parameters and can be found by determining the location where the gradient of the ratio of LET{sub d} and LET{sub t} becomes positive.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Department of Radiation Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030 (United States)
  2. Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030 (United States)
  3. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China and Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114 (United States)
  4. Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030 and Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22482375
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 42; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2015 Author(s); Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; BRAGG CURVE; ENERGY ABSORPTION; ENERGY LOSSES; LET; MONTE CARLO METHOD; PARTICLE TRACKS; PHANTOMS; PROTON BEAMS; RADIATION DOSES; RADIOTHERAPY; RBE; SPECTRA