OBJECTIVE: This study is part of ongoing efforts aiming to transit from measurement-based to combined patient-specific quality assurance (PSQA) in intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT). A Monte Carlo (MC) dose-calculation algorithm is used to improve the independent dose calculation and to reveal the beam modeling deficiency of the analytical pencil beam (PB) algorithm. METHODS: A set of representative clinical IMPT plans with suboptimal PSQA results were reviewed. Verification plans were recalculated using an MC algorithm developed in-house. Agreements of PB and MC calculations with measurements that quantified by the γ passing rate were compared. RESULTS: The percentage of dose planes that met the clinical criteria for PSQA (>90% γ passing rate using 3%/3 mm criteria) increased from 71.40% in the original PB calculation to 95.14% in the MC recalculation. For fields without beam modifiers, nearly 100% of the dose planes exceeded the 95% γ passing rate threshold using the MC algorithm. The model deficiencies of the PB algorithm were found in the proximal and distal regions of the SOBP, where MC recalculation improved the γ passing rate by 11.27% (p < 0.001) and 16.80% (p < 0.001), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The MC algorithm substantially improved the γ passing rate for IMPT PSQA. Improved modeling of beam modifiers would enable the use of the MC algorithm for independent dose calculation, completely replacing additional depth measurements in IMPT PSQA program. For current users of the PB algorithm, further improving the long-tail modeling or using MC simulation to generate the dose correction factor is necessary. ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: We justified a change in clinical practice to achieve efficient combined PSQA in IMPT by using the MC algorithm that was experimentally validated in almost all the clinical scenarios in our center. Deficiencies in beam modeling of the current PB algorithm were identified and solutions to improve its dose-calculation accuracy were provided.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging