Limitations of a pencil beam approach to photon dose calculations in the head and neck region

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The inherent limitations of a specific pencil beam model have been studied when applied to a cylindrical geometry simulating the neck region. A comparison is made between measured and calculated absorbed dose in a cylindrical phantom. The goal is to quantify the deviations in the absorbed dose level, i.e., the dose per monitor unit, when photons are used for the treatment of head and neck tumours. Square fields ranging from 5 x 5 up to 30 x 30 cm2 are studied for photon beam energies of 60Co, 4, 6 and 18 MV. Ionisation chamber measurements have been performed in the cylinder as well as in two other configurations in order to trace the origin of possible deviations. For 18 MV no significant deviations are found between measurement and calculation in the cylindrical configuration. For the lower energies, an overestimation of the calculated dose in the cylindrical configuration up to about 6% for a 20 x 20-cm2 60Co field has been found. These deviations have been traced to the basic approximation for the integration volume for phantom scatter calculations inherent in this pencil beam implementation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Radiotherapy, Dose planning, Pencil beam algorithm, Head and neck region, Patient modelling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Publication categoryResearch