SU-F-T-169: A Periodic Quality Assurance Program for a Spot-Scanning Proton Treatment Facility




To develop daily and monthly quality assurance (QA) programs in support of a new spot-scanning proton treatment facility using a combination of commercial and custom equipment and software. Emphasis was placed on efficiency and evaluation of key quality parameters.


The daily QA program was developed to test output, spot size and position, proton beam energy, and image guidance using the Sun Nuclear Corporation rf-DQA™3 device and Atlas QA software. The program utilizes standard Atlas linear accelerator tests repurposed for proton measurements and a custom jig for indexing the device to the treatment couch. The monthly QA program was designed to test mechanical performance, image quality, radiation quality, isocenter coincidence, and safety features. Many of these tests are similar to linear accelerator QA counterparts, but many require customized test design and equipment. Coincidence of imaging, laser marker, mechanical, and radiation isocenters, for instance, is verified using a custom film-based device devised and manufactured at our facility. Proton spot size and position as a function of energy are verified using a custom spot pattern incident on film and analysis software developed in-house. More details concerning the equipment and software developed for monthly QA are included in the supporting document. Thresholds for daily and monthly tests were established via perturbation analysis, early experience, and/or proton system specifications and associated acceptance test results.


The periodic QA program described here has been in effect for approximately 9 months and has proven efficient and sensitive to sub-clinical variations in treatment delivery characteristics.


Tools and professional guidelines for periodic proton system QA are not as well developed as their photon and electron counterparts. The program described here efficiently evaluates key quality parameters and, while specific to the needs of our facility, could be readily adapted to other proton centers.