Systematic analysis of the scatter environment in clinical intra-operative high dose rate (IOHDR) brachytherapy
MetadataShow full item record
Most brachytherapy planning systems are based on a dose calculation algorithm that assumes an infinite scatter environment surrounding the target volume and applicator. In intra-operative high dose rate brachytherapy (IOHDR) where treatment catheters are typically laid either directly on a tumor bed or within applicators that may have little or no scatter material above them, the lack of scatter from one side of the applicator can result in serious underdosage during treatment. Therefore, full analyses of the physical processes such as the photoelectric effect, Rayleigh, and Compton scattering that contribute to dosimetric errors have to be investigated and documented to result in more accurate treatment delivery to patients undergoing IOHDR procedures. Monte Carlo simulation results showed the Compton scattering effect is about 40 times more probable than photoelectric effect for the treated areas of single source, 4 x 4, and 2 x 4 cm 2 . Also, the dose variations with and without photoelectric effect were 0.3 ∼ 0.7%, which are within the uncertainty in Monte Carlo simulations. Also, Monte Carlo simulation studies were done to verify the following experimental results for quantification of dosimetric errors in clinical IOHDR brachytherapy. The first experimental study was performed to quantify the inaccuracy in clinical dose delivery due to the incomplete scatter conditions inherent in IOHDR brachytherapy. Treatment plans were developed for 3 different treatment surface areas (4 x 4, 7 x 7, 12 x 12 cm 2 ), each with prescription points located at 3 distances (0.5 cm, 1.0 cm, and 1.5 cm) from the source dwell positions. Measurements showed that the magnitude of the underdosage varies from about 8% to 13% of the prescription dose as the prescription depth is increased from 0.5 cm to 1.5 cm. This treatment error was found to be independent of the irradiated area and strongly dependent on the prescription distance. The study was extended to confirm the underdosage for various shape of treated area (especially, irregular shape), which can be applied in clinical cases. Treatment plans of 10 patients previously treated at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, which had irregular shapes of treated areas, were used. In IOHDR brachytherapy, a 2-dimensional (2-D) planar geometry is typically used without considering the curved shape of target surfaces. In clinical cases, this assumption of the planar geometry may cause the serious dose delivery errors to target volumes. The second study was performed to investigate the dose errors to curved surfaces. Seven rectangular shaped plans (five for 1.0 cm and two for 0.5 cm prescription depth) and archived irregular shaped plans of 2 patients were analyzed. Cylindrical phantoms with six radii (ranged 1.35 to 12.5 cm) were used to simulate the treatment planning geometries, which were calculated in 2-D plans. Actual doses delivered to prescription points were over-estimated up to 15% on the concave side of curved applicators for all cylindrical phantoms with 1.0 cm prescription depth. Also, delivered doses decreased by up to 10% on the convex side of curved applicators for small treated areas (≤ 5catheters), but interestingly, any dose dependence was not shown with large treated areas. Our measurements have shown inaccuracy in dose delivery when the original planar treatment plan was delivered in a curved applicator setting. Dose errors arising due to the tumor curvature may be significant in a clinical set up and merit attention during planning.