Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2014 Jul 28;89(3):615-22. Epub 2014 Mar 28.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
Purpose: To determine whether Cherenkov light imaging can visualize radiation therapy in real time during breast radiation therapy.
Methods And Materials: An intensified charge-coupled device (CCD) camera was synchronized to the 3.25-μs radiation pulses of the clinical linear accelerator with the intensifier set × 100. Cherenkov images were acquired continuously (2.8 frames/s) during fractionated whole breast irradiation with each frame an accumulation of 100 radiation pulses (approximately 5 monitor units).
Results: The first patient images ever created are used to illustrate that Cherenkov emission can be visualized as a video during conditions typical for breast radiation therapy, even with complex treatment plans, mixed energies, and modulated treatment fields. Images were generated correlating to the superficial dose received by the patient and potentially the location of the resulting skin reactions. Major blood vessels are visible in the image, providing the potential to use these as biological landmarks for improved geometric accuracy. The potential for this system to detect radiation therapy misadministrations, which can result from hardware malfunction or patient positioning setup errors during individual fractions, is shown.
Conclusions: Cherenkoscopy is a unique method for visualizing surface dose resulting in real-time quality control. We propose that this system could detect radiation therapy errors in everyday clinical practice at a time when these errors can be corrected to result in improved safety and quality of radiation therapy.