A practical Monte Carlo MU verification tool for IMRT quality assurance

J. Fan, J. Li, L. Chen, S. Stathakis, W. Luo, F. Du Plessis, W. Xiong, J. Yang, C. M. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Quality assurance (QA) for intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment planning and beam delivery, using ionization chamber measurements and film dosimetry in a phantom, is time consuming. The Monte Carlo method is the most accurate method for radiotherapy dose calculation. However, a major drawback of Monte Carlo dose calculation as currently implemented is its slow speed. The goal of this work is to bring the efficiency of Monte Carlo into a practical range by developing a fast Monte Carlo monitor unit (MU) verification tool for IMRT. A special estimator for dose at a point called the point detector has been used in this research. The point detector uses the next event estimation (NEE) method to calculate the photon energy fluence at a point of interest and then converts it to collision kerma by the mass energy absorption coefficient assuming the presence of transient charged particle equilibrium. The MU verification tool has been validated by comparing the calculation results with measurements. It can be used for both patient dose verification and phantom QA calculation. The dynamic leaf-sequence log file is used to rebuild the actual MLC leaf sequence in order to predict the dose actually received by the patient. Dose calculations for 20 patient plans have been performed using the point detector method. Results were compared with direct Monte Carlo simulations using EGS4/MCSIM, which is a well-benchmarked Monte Carlo code. The results between the point detector and MCSIM agreed to within 2%. A factor of 20 speedup can be achieved with the point detector method compared with direct Monte Carlo simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2503-2515
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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