Med Phys 2012 May;39(5):2456-62

Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

*Purpose*: Dose accuracy has been shown to vary with dose per segment and dose rate when delivered with static multileaf collimator (SMLC) intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) by Varian C-series MLC controllers. The authors investigated the impact of monitor units (MUs) per segment and dose rate on the dose delivery accuracy of SMLC-IMRT fields on a Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator (LINAC), which delivers dose and manages motion of all components using a single integrated controller.

*Methods*: An SMLC sequence was created consisting of ten identical 10 × 10 cm(2) segments with identical MUs. Beam holding between segments was achieved by moving one out-of-field MLC leaf pair. Measurements were repeated for various combinations of MU/segment ranging from 1 to 40 and dose rates of 100-600 MU/min for a 6 MV photon beam (6X) and dose rates of 800-2400 MU/min for a 10 MV flattening-filter free photon (10XFFF) beam. All measurements were made with a Farmer (0.6 cm(3)) ionization chamber placed at the isocenter in a solid-water phantom at 10 cm depth. The measurements were performed on two Varian LINACs: C-series Trilogy and TrueBeam. Each sequence was delivered three times and the dose readings for the corresponding segments were averaged. The effects of MU/segment, dose rate, and LINAC type on the relative dose variation (Δ(i)) were compared using F-tests (α = 0.05).

*Results*: On the Trilogy, large Δ(i) was observed in small MU segments: at 1 MU/segment, the maximum Δ(i) was 10.1% and 57.9% at 100 MU/min and 600 MU/min, respectively. Also, the first segment of each sequence consistently overshot (Δ(i) > 0), while the last segment consistently undershot (Δ(i) < 0). On the TrueBeam, at 1 MU/segment, Δ(i) ranged from 3.0% to 4.5% at 100 and 600 MU/min; no obvious overshoot/undershoot trend was observed. F-tests showed statistically significant difference [(1 - β) =1.0000] between the Trilogy and the TrueBeam up to 10 MU/segment, at all dose rates greater than 100 MU/min. The linear trend of decreasing dose accuracy as a function of increasing dose rate on the Trilogy is no longer apparent on TrueBeam, even for dose rates as high as 2400 MU/min. Dose inaccuracy averaged over all ten segments in each beam delivery sequence was larger for Trilogy than TrueBeam, with the largest discrepancy (0.2% vs 3%) occurring for 1 MU/segment beams at both 300 and 600 MU/min.

*Conclusions*: Earlier generations of Varian LINACs exhibited large dose variations for small MU segments in SMLC-IMRT delivery. Our results confirmed these findings. The dose delivery accuracy for SMLC-IMRT is significantly improved on TrueBeam compared to Trilogy for every combination of low MU/segment (1-10) and high dose rate (200-600 MU/min), in part due to the faster sampling rate (100 vs 20 Hz) and enhanced electronic integration of the MLC controller with the LINAC. SMLC-IMRT can be implemented on TrueBeam with higher dose accuracy per beam (±0.2% vs ±3%) than previous generations of Varian C-series LINACs for 1 MU/segment delivered at 600 MU/min).