Scattered radiation from applicators in clinical electron beams

L. J. van Battum, W. van der Zee, H. Huizenga

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    In radiotherapy with high-energy (4-25 McV) electron beams, scattered radiation from the electron applicator influences the dose distribution in the patient. In most currently available treatment planning systems for radiotherapy this component is not explicitly included and handled only by a slight change of the intensity of the primary beam. The scattered radiation from an applicator changes with the field size and distance from the applicator. The amount of scattered radiation is dependent on the applicator design and on the formation of the electron beam in the treatment head. Electron applicators currently applied in most treatment machines are essentially a set of diaphragms, but still do produce scattered radiation. This paper investigates the present level of scattered dose from electron applicators, and as such provides an extensive set of measured data. The data provided could for instance serve as example input data or benchmark data for advanced treatment planning algorithms which employ a parametrized initial phase space to characterize the clinical electron beam. Central axis depth dose curves of the electron beams have been measured with and without applicators in place, for various applicator sizes and energies, for a Siemens Primus, a Varian 2300 C/D and an Elekta SLi accelerator. Scattered radiation generated by the applicator has been found by subtraction of the central axis depth dose curves, obtained with and without applicator. Scattered radiation from Siemens, Varian and Elekta electron applicators is still significant and cannot be neglected in advanced treatment planning. Scattered radiation at the surface of a water phantom can be as high as 12%. Scattered radiation decreases almost linearly with depth. Scattered radiation from Varian applicators shows clear dependence on beam energy. The Elekta applicators produce less scattered radiation than those of Varian and Siemens, but feature a higher effective angular variance. The scattered radiation decreases somewhat with increasing field size and is spread uniformly over the aperture. Experimental results comply with the results of simulations of the treatment head and electron applicator, using the BEAM Monte Carlo code.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2493-2507
    Number of pages15
    JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2003

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