Absolute and relative dose distribution comparisons for convolution/superposition and Monte Carlo based treatment planning

Nikos Papanikolaou, Sotirios Stathakis, Constantin Kappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historically, the algorithms used for dose computation in radiotherapy treatment planning (RTP) have been based on measured data in water. The so-called model based algorithms (convolution, Monte Carlo) are now emerging as the dose engines of choice for 3D RTP as they can predict more accurately the dose distribution inside the patient based on the CT anatomy with minimum measured data input. In this work, we studied the effect of the dimensionally of a convolution/superposition dose algorithm on the absolute dose and relative dose distribution computed in several clinical cases and compared the outcome to Monte Carlo calculations. The convolution algorithm, calculates the dose at a point by summing together the total energy released per unit mass (TERMA) at all primary interaction sites as modified by the convolution kernel; the latter, reflects the percent of the energy released that is absorbed at the dose deposition site. Patient tissue inhomogeneity can be (i) ignored, (ii) included in the TERMA calculation only and (iii) included in both the TERMA and the convolution kernel. The resulted isodose distribution and monitor units correspond then to a homogeneous, 2.5D and 3D calculation type respectively. We used four clinical cases to study the dimensionality of the dose engine and compare to MC. We found remarkable difference between the three convolution calculation modes, but not much difference against the MC computations. The dosimetric and clinical implications in the choice of the algorithm will be presented as applied to the clinical sites that were investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1663
Number of pages2
JournalAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • Implant
  • Prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics


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