SU-F-T-194: Analyzing the Effect of Range Shifter Air Gap On TPS Dose Modeling Accuracy in Superficial PBS Proton Therapy




Treatment planning systems (TPS) may not accurately model superficial dose distributions of range shifted proton pencil beam scanning (PBS) treatments. Numerous patient-specific QA tests performed on superficially treated PBS plans have shown a consistent overestimate of dose by the TPS. This study quantifies variations between TPS planned dose and measured dose as a function of range shifter air gap and treatment depths up to 5 cm.


PBS treatment plans were created in the TPS to uniformly irradiate a volume of solid water. One plan was created for each range shifter position analyzed, and all plans utilized identical dose optimization parameters. Each optimized plan was analyzed in the TPS to determine the planned dose at varying depths. A PBS proton therapy system with a 3.5 cm lucite range shifter delivered the treatment plans, and a parallel plate chamber embedded in RW3 solid water measured dose at shallow depths for each air gap. Differences between measured and planned doses were plotted and analyzed.


The data show that the TPS more accurately models superficial dose as the air gap between the range shifter and patient surface decreases. Air gaps less than 10 cm have an average dose difference of only 1.6%, whereas air gaps between 10 and 20 cm differ by 3.0% and gaps greater than 20 cm differ by 4.4%.


This study has shown that the TPS is unable to accurately model superficial dose with a large range shifter air gap. Dose differences greater than 3% will likely cause QA failure, as many institutions analyze patient QA with a 3%/3mm gamma analysis. For superficial PBS therapy, range shifter positions should be chosen to keep the air gap less then 10 cm when patient setup and gantry geometry allow.