Analytic estimates of secondary neutron dose in proton therapy.
ABSTRACT Proton beam losses in various components of a treatment nozzle generate secondary neutrons, which bring unwanted out of field dose during treatments. The purpose of this study was to develop an analytic method for estimating neutron dose to a distant organ at risk during proton therapy. Based on radiation shielding calculation methods proposed by Sullivan, we developed an analytical model for converting the proton beam losses in the nozzle components and in the treatment volume into the secondary neutron dose at a point of interest. Using the MCNPx Monte Carlo code, we benchmarked the neutron dose rates generated by the proton beam stopped at various media. The Monte Carlo calculations confirmed the validity of the analytical model for simple beam stop geometry. The analytical model was then applied to neutron dose equivalent measurements performed on double scattering and uniform scanning nozzles at the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute (MPRI). Good agreement was obtained between the model predictions and the data measured at MPRI. This work provides a method for estimating analytically the neutron dose equivalent to a distant organ at risk. This method can be used as a tool for optimizing dose delivery techniques in proton therapy.