Article

Characterization of an extendable multi-leaf collimator for clinical electron beams

School of Physics, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland.
Physics in Medicine and Biology (Impact Factor: 2.92). 11/2011; 56(23):7621-38. DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/23/018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An extendable x-ray multi-leaf collimator (eMLC) is investigated for collimation of electron beams on a linear accelerator. The conventional method of collimation using an electron applicator is impractical for conformal, modulated and mixed beam therapy techniques. An eMLC would allow faster, more complex treatments with potential for reduction in dose to organs-at-risk and critical structures. The add-on eMLC was modelled using the EGSnrc Monte Carlo code and validated against dose measurements at 6-21 MeV with the eMLC mounted on a Siemens Oncor linear accelerator at 71.6 and 81.6 cm source-to-collimator distances. Measurements and simulations at 8.4-18.4 cm airgaps showed agreement of 2%/2 mm. The eMLC dose profiles and percentage depth dose curves were compared with standard electron applicator parameters. The primary differences were a wider penumbra and up to 4.2% reduction in the build-up dose at 0.5 cm depth, with dose normalized on the central axis. At 90 cm source-to-surface distance (SSD)--relevant to isocentric delivery--the applicator and eMLC penumbrae agreed to 0.3 cm. The eMLC leaves, which were 7 cm thick, contributed up to 6.3% scattered electron dose at the depth of maximum dose for a 10 × 10 cm2 field, with the thick leaves effectively eliminating bremsstrahlung leakage. A Monte Carlo calculated wedge shaped dose distribution generated with all six beam energies matched across the maximum available eMLC field width demonstrated a therapeutic (80% of maximum dose) depth range of 2.1-6.8 cm. Field matching was particularly challenging at lower beam energies (6-12 MeV) due to the wider penumbrae and angular distribution of electron scattering. An eMLC isocentric electron breast boost was planned and compared with the conventional applicator fixed SSD plan, showing similar target coverage and dose to critical structures. The mean dose to the target differed by less than 2%. The low bremsstrahlung dose from the 7 cm thick MLC leaves had the added advantage of reducing the mean dose to the whole heart. Isocentric delivery using an extendable eMLC means that treatment room re-entry and repositioning the patient for SSD set-up is unnecessary. Monte Carlo simulation can accurately calculate the fluence below the eMLC and subsequent patient dose distributions. The eMLC generates similar dose distributions to the standard electron applicator but provides a practical method for more complex electron beam delivery.

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