Microdosimetric study on influence of low energy photons on relative biological effectiveness under therapeutic conditions using 6 MV linac




Microdosimetry has been developed for the evaluation of radiation quality, and single-event dose-mean lineal energy yD is well-used to represent the radiation quality. In this study, the changes of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) values under the therapeutic conditions using a 6 MV linac were investigated with a microdosimetric method.


The yD values under the various irradiation conditions for x-rays from a 6 MV linac were measured with a tissue-equivalent proportional counter (TEPC) at an extremely low dose rate of a few tens of μGy/min by decreasing the gun grid voltage of the linac. According to the microdosimetric kinetic model (MK model), the RBEMK values for cell killing of the human salivary gland (HSG) tumor cells can be derived if the yD values are obtained from TEPC measurements. The Monte Carlo code GEANT4 was also used to calculate the photon energy distributions and to investigate the changes of the yD values under the various conditions.


The changes of the yD values were less than approximately 10% when the field size and the depth in a phantom varied. However, in the measurements perpendicular to a central beam axis, large changes were observed between the yD values inside the field and those outside the field. The maximum increase of approximately 50% in the yD value outside the field was obtained compared with those inside the field. The GEANT4 calculations showed that there existed a large relative number of low energy photons outside of the field as compared with inside of the field. The percentages of the photon fluences below 200 keV outside the field were approximately 40% against approximately 8% inside the field. By using the MK model, the field size and the depth dependence of the RBEMK values were less than approximately 2% inside the field. However, the RBEMK values outside the field were 6.6% higher than those inside the field.


The increase of the RBEMK values by 6.6% outside the field was observed. This increase is caused by the change of the photon energy distributions, especially the increase of the relative number of low energy photons outside the field.