Design and implementation of a head-and-neck phantom for system audit and verification of intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

Gareth J. Webster, Mark J. Hardy, Carl G. Rowbottom, Ranald I. Mackay

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    The head and neck is a challenging anatomic site for intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), requiring thorough testing of planning and treatment delivery systems. Ideally, the phantoms used should be anatomically realistic, have radiologic properties identical to those of the tissues concerned, and allow for the use of a variety of devices to verify dose and dose distribution in any target or normaltissue structure. A phantom that approaches the foregoing characteristics has been designed and built; its specific purpose is verification for IMRT treatments in the head-andneck region. This semi-anatomic phantom, HANK, is constructed of Perspex (Imperial Chemical Industries, London, U.K.) and provides for the insertion of heterogeneities simulating air cavities in a range of fixed positions. Chamber inserts are manufactured to incorporate either a standard thimble ionization chamber (0.125 cm3: PTW, Freiburg, Germany) or a smaller PinPoint chamber (0.015 cm3: PTW), and measurements can be made with either chamber in a range of positions throughout the phantom. Coronal films can also be acquired within the phantom, and additional solid blocks of Perspex allow for transverse films to be acquired within the head region. Initial studies using simple conventional head-and-neck plans established the reproducibility of the phantom and the measurement devices to within the setup uncertainty of +/- 0.5 mm. Subsequent verification of 9 clinical head-and-neck IMRT plans demonstrated the efficacy of the phantom in making a range of patient-specific dose measurements in regions of dosimetric and clinical interest. Agreement between measured values and those predicted by the Pinnacle3 treatment planning system (Philips Medical Systems, Andover, MA) was found to be generally good, with a mean error on the calculated dose to each point of +0.2% (range: -4.3% to +2.2%; n = 9) for the primary planning target volume (PTV), -0.1% (range: -1.5% to +2.0%; n = 8) for the nodal PTV, and +0.0% (range: -1.8% to +4.3%, n = 9) for the spinal cord. The suitability of the phantom for measuring combined dose distributions using radiographic film was also evaluated.The phantom has proved to be a valuable tool in the development and implementation of clinical head-and-neck IMRT, allowing for accurate verification of absolute dose and dose distributions in regions of clinical and dosimetric interest.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2740
    JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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