MO-D-BRD-02: Radiological Physics and Surface Lesion Treatments with Electronic Brachytherapy


  • Fulkerson R.


Electronic brachytherapy (eBT) has seen an insurgence of manufacturers entering the US market for use in radiation therapy. In addition to the established interstitial, intraluminary, and intracavitary applications of eBT, many centers are now using eBT to treat skin lesions. It is important for medical physicists working with electronic brachytherapy sources to understand the basic physics principles of the sources themselves as well as the variety of applications for which they are being used. The calibration of the sources is different from vendor to vendor and the traceability of calibrations has evolved as new sources came to market. In 2014, a new air-kerma based standard was introduced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to measure the output of an eBT source. Eventually commercial treatment planning systems should accommodate this new standard and provide NIST traceability to the end user. The calibration and commissioning of an eBT system is unique to its application and typically entails a list of procedural recommendations by the manufacturer. Commissioning measurements are performed using a variety of methods, some of which are modifications of existing AAPM Task Group protocols. A medical physicist should be familiar with the different AAPM Task Group recommendations for applicability to eBT and how to properly adapt them to their needs. In addition to the physical characteristics of an eBT source, the photon energy is substantially lower than from HDR Ir-192 sources. Consequently, tissue-specific dosimetry and radiobiological considerations are necessary when comparing these brachytherapy modalities and when making clinical decisions as a radiation therapy team. In this session, the physical characteristics and calibration methodologies of eBt sources will be presented as well as radiobiology considerations and other important clinical considerations.

Learning Objectives:

  • 1.To understand the basic principles of electronic brachytherapy and the various applications for which it is being used.
  • 2.To understand the physics of the calibration and commissioning for electronic brachytherapy sources
  • 3.To understand the unique radiobiology and clinical implementation of electronic brachytherapy systems for skin and IORT techniques

Xoft, Inc. contributed funding toward development of the NIST electronic brachytherapy facility (Michael Mitch).The University of Wisconsin (Wesley Culberson) has received research support funding from Xoft, Inc. Zoubir Ouhib has received partial funding from Elekta Esteya.