A study of the performance of five commercial radiotherapy treatment planning systems ( TPSs) for common treatment sites regarding their ability to model heterogeneities and scattered photons has been performed. The comparison was based on CT information for prostate, head and neck, breast and lung cancer cases. The TPSs were installed locally at different institutions and commissioned for clinical use based on local procedures. For the evaluation, beam qualities as identical as possible were used: low energy ( 6 MV) and high energy ( 15 or 18 MV) x-rays. All relevant anatomical structures were outlined and simple treatment plans were set up. Images, structures and plans were exported, anonymized and distributed to the participating institutions using the DICOM protocol. The plans were then re-calculated locally and exported back for evaluation. The TPSs cover dose calculation techniques from correction-based equivalent path length algorithms to model-based algorithms. These were divided into two groups based on how changes in electron transport are accounted for (( a) not considered and ( b) considered). Increasing the complexity from the relatively homogeneous pelvic region to the very inhomogeneous lung region resulted in less accurate dose distributions. Improvements in the calculated dose have been shown when models consider volume scatter and changes in electron transport, especially when the extension of the irradiated volume was limited and when low densities were present in or adjacent to the fields. A Monte Carlo calculated algorithm input data set and a benchmark set for a virtual linear accelerator have been produced which have facilitated the analysis and interpretation of the results. The more sophisticated models in the type b group exhibit changes in both absorbed dose and its distribution which are congruent with the simulations performed by Monte Carlo-based virtual accelerator.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging