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Open Access Open Badges Research

Monte Carlo dose verification of prostate patients treated with simultaneous integrated boost intensity modulated radiation therapy

Nesrin Dogan1*, Ivaylo Mihaylov2, Yan Wu1, Paul J Keall3, Jeffrey V Siebers1 and Michael P Hagan1

Author Affiliations

1 Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Radiation Oncology Department, 401 College Street, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham Street, Little Rock, Arizona 72205, USA

3 Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University Cancer Center, 875 Blake Wilbur Drive, Stanford, California 94305, USA

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Radiation Oncology 2009, 4:18  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-4-18

Published: 15 June 2009



To evaluate the dosimetric differences between Superposition/Convolution (SC) and Monte Carlo (MC) calculated dose distributions for simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) prostate cancer intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) compared to experimental (film) measurements and the implications for clinical treatments.


Twenty-two prostate patients treated with an in-house SIB-IMRT protocol were selected. SC-based plans used for treatment were re-evaluated with EGS4-based MC calculations for treatment verification. Accuracy was evaluated with-respect-to film-based dosimetry. Comparisons used gamma (γ)-index, distance-to-agreement (DTA), and superimposed dose distributions. The treatment plans were also compared based on dose-volume indices and 3-D γ index for targets and critical structures.


Flat-phantom comparisons demonstrated that the MC algorithm predicted measurements better than the SC algorithm. The average PTVprostate D98 agreement between SC and MC was 1.2% ± 1.1. For rectum, the average differences in SC and MC calculated D50 ranged from -3.6% to 3.4%. For small bowel, there were up to 30.2% ± 40.7 (range: 0.2%, 115%) differences between SC and MC calculated average D50 index. For femurs, the differences in average D50 reached up to 8.6% ± 3.6 (range: 1.2%, 14.5%). For PTVprostate and PTVnodes, the average gamma scores were >95.0%.


MC agrees better with film measurements than SC. Although, on average, SC-calculated doses agreed with MC calculations within the targets within 2%, there were deviations up to 5% for some patient's treatment plans. For some patients, the magnitude of such deviations might decrease the intended target dose levels that are required for the treatment protocol, placing the patients in different dose levels that do not satisfy the protocol dose requirements.