Fifty-seventh annual meeting of the American association of physicists in medicine
SU-E-T-542: Measurement of Internal Neutrons for Uniform Scanning Proton Beams
In proton radiotherapy, the production of neutrons is a wellknown problem since neutron exposure can lead to increased risk of secondary cancers later in the patient's lifetime. The assessment of neutron exposure is, therefore, important for the overall quality of proton radiotherapy. This study investigates the secondary neutrons created inside the patient from uniform scanning proton beams.
Dose equivalent due to secondary neutrons was measured outside the primary field as a function of distance from beam isocenter at three different angles, 45, 90 and 135 degree, relative to beam axis. Plastic track nuclear detector (CR-39 PNTD) was used for the measurement of neutron dose. Two experimental configurations, in-air and cylindrical-phantom, were designed. In a cylindrical-phantom configuration, a cylindrical phantom of 5.5 cm diameter and 35 cm long was placed along the beam direction and in an in-air configuration, no phantom was used. All the detectors were placed at nearly identical locations in both configurations. Three proton beams of range 5 cm, 18 cm, and 32 cm with 4 cm modulation width and a 5 cm diameter aperture were used. The contribution from internal neutrons was estimated from the differences in measured dose equivalent between in-air and cylindrical-phantom configurations at respective locations.
The measured ratio of neutron dose equivalent to the primary proton dose (H/D) dropped off with distance and ranged from 27 to 0.3 mSv/Gy. The contribution of internal neutrons near the treatment field edge was found to be up to 64 % of the total neutron exposure. As the distance from the field edge became larger, the external neutrons from the nozzle appear to dominate and the internal neutrons became less prominent.
This study suggests that the contribution of internal neutrons could be significant to the total neutron dose equivalent.