Photon energy-modulated radiotherapy: Monte Carlo simulation and treatment planning study.
ABSTRACT To demonstrate the feasibility of photon energy-modulated radiotherapy during beam-on time.
A cylindrical device made of aluminum was conceptually proposed as an energy modulator. The frame of the device was connected with 20 tubes through which mercury could be injected or drained to adjust the thickness of mercury along the beam axis. In Monte Carlo (MC) simulations, a flattening filter of 6 or 10 MV linac was replaced with the device. The thickness of mercury inside the device varied from 0 to 40 mm at the field sizes of 5 × 5 cm(2) (FS5), 10 × 10 cm(2) (FS10), and 20 × 20 cm(2) (FS20). At least 5 billion histories were followed for each simulation to create phase space files at 100 cm source to surface distance (SSD). In-water beam data were acquired by additional MC simulations using the above phase space files. A treatment planning system (TPS) was commissioned to generate a virtual machine using the MC-generated beam data. Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans for six clinical cases were generated using conventional 6 MV, 6 MV flattening filter free, and energy-modulated photon beams of the virtual machine.
As increasing the thickness of mercury, Percentage depth doses (PDD) of modulated 6 and 10 MV after the depth of dose maximum were continuously increased. The amount of PDD increase at the depth of 10 and 20 cm for modulated 6 MV was 4.8% and 5.2% at FS5, 3.9% and 5.0% at FS10 and 3.2%-4.9% at FS20 as increasing the thickness of mercury from 0 to 20 mm. The same for modulated 10 MV was 4.5% and 5.0% at FS5, 3.8% and 4.7% at FS10 and 4.1% and 4.8% at FS20 as increasing the thickness of mercury from 0 to 25 mm. The outputs of modulated 6 MV with 20 mm mercury and of modulated 10 MV with 25 mm mercury were reduced into 30%, and 56% of conventional linac, respectively. The energy-modulated IMRT plans had less integral doses than 6 MV IMRT or 6 MV flattening filter free plans for tumors located in the periphery while maintaining the similar quality of target coverage, homogeneity, and conformity.
The MC study for the designed energy modulator demonstrated the feasibility of energy-modulated photon beams available during beam-on time. The planning study showed an advantage of energy-and intensity modulated radiotherapy in terms of integral dose without sacrificing any quality of IMRT plan.