Determination of depth and field size dependence of multileaf collimator transmission in intensity-modulated radiation therapy beams.

J Appl Clin Med Phys 2007 Oct 24;8(4):2693. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans for the treatment of large and complex volumes may contain a relatively large contribution from multileaf collimator (MLC) transmission. In such cases, comprehensive characterization of direct and scatter MLC transmission is important. We designed a set of tests (open beam, closed static MLC, and dynamic MLC gap) to determine dosimetric MLC properties as a function of field size and depth at the central axis. We developed a generalized model of MLC transmission to account for direct MLC transmission, MLC scatter, beam hardening, and leaf-end transmission (dosimetric gap). The model is consistent with the beam model used in IMRT optimization. We tested the model for extreme asymmetric fields relevant for large targets and for split IMRT fields. We applied our MLC scatter estimation formula to clinically relevant cases and showed that MLC scatter is contributing an undesired background dose. This contribution is relatively large, especially in low-dose regions. (For instance, a uniform extra dose may dramatically increase normallung toxicity in thorax treatment.) For complex IMRT of large-volume targets, we found direct MLC transmission dose to be as high as 30%, and MLC scatter, up to 10% within the target volume for the selected cases. We identified that the dose discrepancies between the IMRT planning system [Eclipse (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA)] and ionization chamber measurements (inside and outside of the field) are attributable to an inadequate model of MLC transmission in the planning system (constant-value model). In the present study, we measured MLC transmission properties for Varian 6EX (6 MV) and 21EXs (6 and 10 MV) linear accelerators; however, the experimental method and theoretical model are more general.

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October 2007
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