SU-E-T-273: Do Task Group External Beam QA Recommendations Guarantee Accurate Treatment Plan Dose Delivery?




AAPM task groups 40/142 have provided an invaluable set of goals for physicists designing QA programs, attempting to standardize what would otherwise likely be a highly variable phenomenon across institutions. However, with the complexity of modalities such as VMAT, we hypothesize that following these guidelines to the letter might still allow unacceptable dose discrepancies. To explore this hypothesis we simulated machines bordering on QA acceptability, and calculated the effect on patient plans.


Two errant machines were simulated in Aria/Eclipse, each just within task group criteria for output, percent depth dose, beam profile, gantry and collimator rotations, and jaw and MLC positions. One machine minimized dose to the PTV (machine A) and the other maximized dose to the OARs (machine B). Clinical treatment plans (3-phase prostate, n=3; hypofractionated lung, n=1) were calculated on these machines and the dose distributions compared. A prostate case was examined for contribution of error sources and evaluated using delivery QA data.


The prostate plans showed mean decreases in target D95 of 9.9% of prescription dose on machine A. On machine B, The rectal and bladder V70Gy each increased by 7.1 percentage points, while their V45Gy increased by 16.2% and 15.0% respectively. In the lung plan, the target D95 decreased by 12.8% and the bronchial tree Dmax increased by 21% of prescription dose, on machines A and B. One prostate plan showed target dose errors of 3.8% from MLC changes, 2% from output, ∼3% from energy and ∼0.5% from other factors. This plan achieved an 88.4% gamma passing rate using 3%/3mm using ArcCHECK.


In the unlikely event that a machine exhibits all maximum errors allowed by TG 40/142, unacceptably large changes in dose delivered are possible especially in highly modulated VMAT plans, despite the machine passing routine QA.