ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study is to demonstrate the potential of accelerated dose calculations, using the fast Monte Carlo (MC) code referred to as PENFAST, rather than the conventional MC code PENELOPE, without losing accuracy in the computed dose. For this purpose, experimental measurements of dose distributions in homogeneous and inhomogeneous phantoms were compared with simulated results using both PENELOPE and PENFAST. The simulations and experiments were performed using a Saturne 43 linac operated at 12 MV (photons), and at 18 MeV (electrons). Pre-calculated phase space files (PSFs) were used as input data to both the PENELOPE and PENFAST dose simulations. Since depth-dose and dose profile comparisons between simulations and measurements in water were found to be in good agreement (within +/-1% to 1 mm), the PSF calculation is considered to have been validated. In addition, measured dose distributions were compared to simulated results in a set of clinically relevant, inhomogeneous phantoms, consisting of lung and bone heterogeneities in a water tank. In general, the PENFAST results agree to within a 1% to 1 mm difference with those produced by PENELOPE, and to within a 2% to 2 mm difference with measured values. Our study thus provides a pre-clinical validation of the PENFAST code. It also demonstrates that PENFAST provides accurate results for both photon and electron beams, equivalent to those obtained with PENELOPE. CPU time comparisons between both MC codes show that PENFAST is generally about 9-21 times faster than PENELOPE.
Physica Medica 04/2009; 26(1):17-25. · 1.07 Impact Factor