Dose mapping of the rectal wall during brachytherapy with an array of scintillation dosimeters


  • 0094-2405/2010/37(5)/2247/9/$30.00


Purpose: In pelvic brachytherapy treatments, the rectum is an organ at risk. The authors have developed an array of scintillation dosimeters suitable for in vivo use that enables quality assurance of the treatment delivery and provides an alert to potential radiation accidents. Ultimately, this will provide evidence to direct treatment planning and dose escalation and correlate dose with the rectal response.

Methods: An array of 16 scintillation dosimeters in an insertable applicator has been developed. The dosimeters were calibrated simultaneously in a custom designed circular jig before use. Each dosimeter is optically interfaced to a set of pixels on a CCD camera located outside the treatment bunker. A customized software converts pixel values into dose rate and accumulates dose for presentation during treatment delivery. The performance of the array is tested by simulating brachytherapy treatments in a water phantom. The treatment plans were designed to deliver a known dose distribution on the surface of the rectal applicator, assumed to represent the dose to the rectal wall.

Results: The measured doses were compared to those predicted by the treatment plan and found to be in agreement to within the uncertainty in measurement, usually within 3%. The array was also used to track the progression of the source as it moved along the catheter. The measured position was found to agree with the position reported by the afterloader to within the measurement uncertainty, usually within 2 mm.

Conclusions: This array is capable of measuring the actual dose received by each region of the rectal wall during brachytherapy treatments. It will provide real time monitoring of treatment delivery and raise an alert to a potential radiation accident. Real time dose mapping in the clinical environment will give the clinician additional confidence to carry out dose escalation to the tumor volume while avoiding rectal side effects.