Is there a need for a revised table of equivalent square fields for the determination of phantom scatter correction factors?

J. L.M. Venselaar, S. Heukelom, H. N. Jager, B. J. Mijnheer, J. J.M. Van Gasteren, H. J. Van Kleffens, R. Van der Laarse, C. F. Westermann

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The use of the British Journal of Radiology (BJR) (supplement 17) tables of equivalent square fields for dose calculations is widespread. A revised version of the supplement was published recently, with a more elaborate discussion, but without changes in data given in these tables (Br. J. Radiol. suppl 25). The tables were generated for use in dose calculations, with relative beam data such as PDD, BSF, PSF, all with d(max) as the reference depth. However, the current philosophy in dose calculational methods is based on quantities defined at a reference depth, d(ref) = 10 cm, on a separation of phantom and head scatter, and on the use of the relative depth-dose or tissue-phantom ratios normalized at d(ref). By using these quantities as a starting point, problems at shallow depths related to the influence of contaminating electrons in the beam can be eliminated. Recently, a comprehensive set of phantom scatter factor data with d(ref) = 10 cm has been published for a set of square field sizes and a wide range of photon beam energies, showing that phantom scatter is a smoothly varying function of field size and quality index. It is not a priori evident that the conventional concept of equivalent squares for metangular fields is also fully applicable for phantom scatter factors and phantom scatter related quantities at a depth of 10 cm. It was questioned whether or not new tables of equivalent square fields are needed for this purpose. In this paper, new tables have been constructed for four photon beam energies in the range of Co-60 to 25 MV (quality index from 0.572 to 0.783). The small differences between the outcome of these new tables allowed the construction of one averaged table of equivalent square fields. Phantom scatter factors were calculated for rectangular fields based on the use of the BSR table and on the use of the newly constructed tables and the differences were quantified. For Co-60 no improvements could he shown when using the new averaged table, but for beam energies of 6 to 10 MV small improvements of the order of 0.5 to 1.0% were found. For a higher beam energy of 25 MV the improvement is smaller. Deviations resulting from the B JR table are within the limits of accuracy as stated by the authors. Therefore, for clinical use, the continued use of the BJR table of equivalent squares for phantom scatter factors and phantom scatter related quantities of rectangular fields is justified, irrespective of photon beam energy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2369-2381
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

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