Experimental verification of a commercial Monte Carlo-based dose calculation module for high-energy photon beams

Thomas Künzler, Irina Fotina, Markus Stock, Dietmar Georg

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

27 Citations (Scopus)


The dosimetric performance of a Monte Carlo algorithm as implemented in a commercial treatment planning system (iPlan, BrainLAB) was investigated. After commissioning and basic beam data tests in homogenous phantoms, a variety of single regular beams and clinical field arrangements were tested in heterogeneous conditions (conformal therapy, arc therapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy including simultaneous integrated boosts). More specifically, a cork phantom containing a concave-shaped target was designed to challenge the Monte Carlo algorithm in more complex treatment cases. All test irradiations were performed on an Elekta linac providing 6, 10 and 18 MV photon beams. Absolute and relative dose measurements were performed with ion chambers and near tissue equivalent radiochromic films which were placed within a transverse plane of the cork phantom. For simple fields, a 1D gamma (gamma) procedure with a 2% dose difference and a 2 mm distance to agreement (DTA) was applied to depth dose curves, as well as to inplane and crossplane profiles. The average gamma value was 0.21 for all energies of simple test cases. For depth dose curves in asymmetric beams similar gamma results as for symmetric beams were obtained. Simple regular fields showed excellent absolute dosimetric agreement to measurement values with a dose difference of 0.1% +/- 0.9% (1 standard deviation) at the dose prescription point. A more detailed analysis at tissue interfaces revealed dose discrepancies of 2.9% for an 18 MV energy 10 x 10 cm(2) field at the first density interface from tissue to lung equivalent material. Small fields (2 x 2 cm(2)) have their largest discrepancy in the re-build-up at the second interface (from lung to tissue equivalent material), with a local dose difference of about 9% and a DTA of 1.1 mm for 18 MV. Conformal field arrangements, arc therapy, as well as IMRT beams and simultaneous integrated boosts were in good agreement with absolute dose measurements in the heterogeneous phantom. For the clinical test cases, the average dose discrepancy was 0.5% +/- 1.1%. Relative dose investigations of the transverse plane for clinical beam arrangements were performed with a 2D gamma-evaluation procedure. For 3% dose difference and 3 mm DTA criteria, the average value for gamma(>1) was 4.7% +/- 3.7%, the average gamma(1%) value was 1.19 +/- 0.16 and the mean 2D gamma-value was 0.44 +/- 0.07 in the heterogeneous phantom. The iPlan MC algorithm leads to accurate dosimetric results under clinical test conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7363-7377
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Benchmarking
  • Humans
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Photons/therapeutic use
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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