SU-E-T-272: Direct Verification of a Treatment Planning System Megavoltage Linac Beam Photon Spectra Models, and Analysis of the Effects On Patient Plans




For the photon dose calculation Philips Pinnacle Treatment Planning System (TPS) uses collapsed cone convolution algorithm, which relies on energy spectrum of the beam in computing the scatter component. The spectrum is modeled based on Linac's standard commissioning data and typically is not independently verified. We explored a methodology of using transmission measurements in combination with regularization data processing to unfold Linac spectra. The measured spectra were compared to those modeled by the TPS, and the effect on patient plans was evaluated.


Transmission measurements were conducted in narrow-beam geometry using a standard Farmer ionization chamber. Two attenuating materials and two build -up caps, having different atomic numbers, served to enhance discrimination between absorption of low and high-energy portions of the spectra, thus improving the accuracy of the results. The data was analyzed using a regularization technique implemented through spreadsheet-based calculations.


The unfolded spectra were found to deviate from the TPS beam models. The effect of such deviations on treatment planning was evaluated for patient plans through dose distribution calculations with either TPS modeled or measured energy spectra. The differences were reviewed through comparison of isodose distributions, and quantified based on maximum dose values for critical structures. While in most cases no drastic differences in the calculated doses were observed, plans with deviations of 4 to 8% in the maximum dose values for critical structures were discovered. The anatomical sites with large scatter contributions are the most vulnerable to inaccuracies in the modeled spectrum.


An independent check of the TPS model spectrum is highly desirable and should be included as part of commissioning of a new Linac. The effect is particularly important for dose calculations in high heterogeneity regions. The developed approach makes acquisition of megavoltage Linac beam spectra achievable in a typical radiation oncology clinic.