Experimental and Monte Carlo measurements of dose perturbation around a non-radioactive brachytherapy seed in external beam radiotherapy
Steinman, James P.
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I-125 seeds used in permanent prostate brachytherapy are composed of high-Z metals and may number from 40 to over 100 in a typical implant. If any supplemental external beam treatment is administered afterward (as for salvaging failed brachytherapy treatment), it is possible that the seeds may cause substantial dose perturbation which will depend on numerous factors (photon energy, depth, field size, number of seeds, etc.) and this effect needs to be thoroughly investigated. Film measurements were primarily done using Kodak XV2 layered above and below a non-radioactive I-125 seed placed in a groove on a Lucite plate with 5 cm buildup and 10 cm backscatter added at 95 cm SSD. The phantom was irradiated with and without seed with 6 MV photons for a 1 x 1 cm 2 field size. Monte Carlo simulations were carried out using DOSXYZnrc using the same parameters and compared with Gafchromic EBT2 film. Other comparisons looked at changing energy, depth, and field size in both with and without seeds configuration. This study was further extended to include metals of various Z of the seed’s dimensions and also looked into effect of 3 seeds spaced 0.5 cm vertically. Another measurement was done using two opposing fields using single as well as 3 seed configuration to see whether the dose enhancement and attenuation cancel out in multi-field treatments which is the norm clinically in a prostate treatment. For a single I-125 seed, on XV film a localized dose enhancement of 6.3% upstream and -10.9% downstream was noticed. With three seeds, this effect did not change. With two opposing fields, a cold spot around the seed of ~3% was noticed from film measurements. Increasing energy and field size decreased the effect while increase in Z of material greatly increased the effect. Increasing depth appeared to have no effect. DOSXYZnrc and EBT2 film verified maximum dose enhancement of +15% upstream and -20% downstream of the I-125 seed surface. In general, the range of the effect was limited to ~2 mm upstream and ~5 mm downstream with reference to the seed surface in relation to the incident photon beam. As with other heterogeneities in a human body, the dose perturbation due to I-125 seeds in external beam radiotherapy depends on incident beam energy, field size, and the composition of the seed. However, unlike other heterogeneities, no depth dependence of the seed in the material was noted. With multiple seeds spaced apart and multiple fields normally used in prostate treatment, the dose perturbation due to them may not be clinically significant.