On the dosimetric behaviour of photon dose calculation algorithms in the presence of simple geometric heterogeneities: comparison with Monte Carlo calculations

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A comparative study was performed to reveal differences and relative figures of merit of seven different calculation algorithms for photon beams when applied to inhomogeneous media. The following algorithms were investigated: Varian Eclipse: the anisotropic analytical algorithm, and the pencil beam with modified Batho correction; Nucletron Helax-TMS: the collapsed cone and the pencil beam with equivalent path length correction; CMS XiO: the multigrid superposition and the fast Fourier transform convolution; Philips Pinnacle: the collapsed cone. Monte Carlo simulations ( MC) performed with the EGSnrc codes BEAMnrc and DOSxyznrc from NRCC in Ottawa were used as a benchmark. The study was carried out in simple geometrical water phantoms(rho = 1.00 g cm(-3)) with inserts of different densities simulating light lung tissue (rho = 0.035 g cm(-3)), normal lung (rho = 0.20 g cm(-3)) and cortical bone tissue (rho = 1.80 g cm(-3)). Experiments were performed for low- and high-energy photon beams (6 and 15 MV) and for square (13 x 13 cm(2)) and elongated rectangular (2.8 x 13 cm(2)) fields. Analysis was carried out on the basis of depth dose curves and transverse profiles at several depths. Assuming the MC data as reference,. index analysis was carried out distinguishing between regions inside the non-water inserts or inside the uniformwater. For this study, a distance to agreement was set to 3 mm while the dose difference varied from 2% to 10%. In general all algorithms based on pencil-beam convolutions showed a systematic deficiency in managing the presence of heterogeneous media. In contrast, complicated patterns were observed for the advanced algorithmswith significant discrepancies observed between algorithms in the lighter materials (rho = 0.035 g cm(-3)), enhanced for the most energetic beam. For denser, and more clinical, densities a better agreement among the sophisticated algorithms with respect to MC was observed.


  • Antonella Fogliata
  • Eugenio Vanetti
  • Dirk Albers
  • Carsten Brink
  • Alessandro Clivio
  • Tommy Knöös
  • Giorgia Nicolini
  • Luca Cozzi
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1385
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch