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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 421-426

Monte Carlo and experimental dosimetric study of the mHDR-v2 brachytherapy source

1 Department of Radiotherapy, Pt. J.N.M. Medical College and Dr. B.R.A.M. Hospital, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
2 Department of Applied Physics, Bhilai Institute of Technology, Durg, Chhattisgarh, India

Date of Web Publication24-Feb-2011

Correspondence Address:
Rakesh M Chandola
Department of Radiotherapy, Pt. J.N.M. Medical College and Dr. B.R.A.M. Hospital, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.77068

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 > Abstract 

The conventional treatment planning system (TPS) gives analytical calculations with ± 15 to 20% dose, which may lead to over exposure of critical organs or under dose of target. It is to obtain dose distribution parameters of nucletron high dose rate (HDR) microselectron v2 (mHDR-v2) 192 Ir brachytherapy source by experiment and by calculated study using Monte Carlo (MC) EGSnrc code, and to find the similarity between them, and with any past study. To validate data, another MC GEANT4 study done in this work on the same source is also presented. Different software of the computer e.g. paint, excel, etc are employed for preparation of figures and graphs. The measured study of the source was done using an in-air ionization chamber, water phantom, and measurement set-up, while the calculated study was done by modeling the set up of the measured study by using the MC EGSnrc and GEANT4. Mean and probability are used in calculation of average values, and calculation of the uncertainties in result and discussion. The measured and calculated values of dose rate constant, radial dose function, and 2D anisotropy function were found to be in agreement with each other as well as with published data. The results of this study can be used as input to TPS.

Keywords: Dose rate constant, Monte Carlo simulation, radial dose function, 2D anisotropy function

How to cite this article:
Chandola RM, Tiwari S, Kowar MK, Choudhary V. Monte Carlo and experimental dosimetric study of the mHDR-v2 brachytherapy source. J Can Res Ther 2010;6:421-6

How to cite this URL:
Chandola RM, Tiwari S, Kowar MK, Choudhary V. Monte Carlo and experimental dosimetric study of the mHDR-v2 brachytherapy source. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Jan 21];6:421-6. Available from: https://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2010/6/4/421/77068

 > Introduction Top

A general introduction to brachytherapy and MC

Today, in clinical brachytherapy, the application of 192 Ir in HDR afterloading brachytherapy equipment is common. Due to the steep dose gradients, which in turn determines the energy deposition near the source, MC has become an accepted dose calculation methodology in brachytherapy. [1],[2],[3] MC simulation is used to solve various physical problems other than radiation- tissue interaction. There is no established method for the use of MC in brachytherapy dosimetry. As per definition by Lux et al., [4] "In all applications of the Monte Carlo method, a stochastic model is constructed in which the expected value of a certain random variable (or a combination of several variables) is equivalent to the value of a physical quantity to be determined."

The Role of the TG-43 U1 Formalism

It is recommended in the American Association of Medical Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) task group-43 (TG-43 U1 and TG-43) [5],[6] that dose distribution data of the brachytherapy sources in use should be obtained either by experiment or by MC simulation, which is then to be used as input in the HDR treatment planning system (TPS) for planning of exact dose delivery to the patient.

The AAPM introduces several dose distribution parameters based on direct dose distribution in water medium. These parameters are: the dose rate constant (∧), the geometry factor G(r,θ), the radial dose function g(r), and the 2D anisotropy function F(r, θ). With the exception of the geometry factor, all others are measured. Moreover, for low energy radioactive sources e.g. 125 I and 103 Pd seeds, the AAPM recommends that independent investigations involving experimental and Monte Carlo methods must be made available for a source prior to its clinical use. [7]

The Previous Studies Done

Stump et al. [8] did calibration of a some new high dose rate 192 Ir source using a spherical ionization chamber of volume 3.6 cc. They performed a multiple-distance measurement to estimate the room-scatter radiation. Selvam et al. [9] made a Monte Carlo-aided study of primary air kerma strength standardization of a remote afterloading 192 Ir HDR source. Williamson and Li [10] used the Monte Carlo method to calculate complete two-dimensional dose rate distributions about the most widely used HDR source design. A similar Monte Carlo study was performed by Daskalov et al. [11]

 > Materials and Methods Top

The design of the Nucletron mHDR-v2 192 Ir brachytherapy source is taken from Daskalov et al., [11] and is illustrated in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Design of the mHDR-v2 192Ir source

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The 192 Ir active core of the source has an effective density of 22.42 g/cm 3 . The active length of the active core is 3.6 mm with an active diameter 0.65 mm. The activity of the source is assumed to be uniformly distributed. The active core is covered by the stainless steel AISI 316L encapsulation of density 8.02 g/cm 3 a composition by weight: Fe 68%, Cr 17%, Ni 12%, Mn 2% and Si 1% leading to total length of 4.5 mm and total diameter of 0.9 mm. The distal capsule tip has rounded borders with a curvature radius of 0.4 mm. The source is welded on a flexible woven stainless steel cable with a diameter of 0.7 mm. As the portion of the cable near the source remains in straight line, 5 mm of cable were simulated in addition to the source itself.

The needle used as an applicator was made of stainless steel 1.440I (equivalent to AISI/SAE 316) of density 8.0 g/cm 3 and with a wall thickness of 0.15 mm. The inner and outer diameters of the applicator were 1.35 ± 0.02 mm and 1.65 ± 0.02 mm, respectively. The value of effective attenuation co-efficient was taken as 0.030 ± 0.002 [ANSI 303/304]. [12] The unit of the effective attenuation co-efficient was taken as cm 2 /g.

The in-air ion chamber used in this study was a 0.1 cc model PTWM-23322 Freiburg with an active length of 1.2 cm and effective diameter of 0.35 cm. The wall material was made of PMMA with a thickness 0.12 g/cm 3 and no cap. The calibration factor was 3.597 E ± 08 Gy/C for 60 Co beam. The ionization chamber must have a wall thickness of about 0.31 g/cm 2 to provide charge particle equilibrium for the 192 Ir source emitting a photon spectrum in the energy range from 9 to 885 keV. [13] If the wall thickness of the chamber used in measurement differs from the recommended thickness, an appropriate correction should be applied for scattering and attenuation of photons. [13] The wall thickness correction factor (A w) was determined using a formula A w = 1- γ t : where, 'γ' is the attenuation and scattering fraction per wall thickness (cm 2 /g) and 't' is the total thickness (g/cm 2 ) of the wall material. [12] By calculation, the A w value equals 1.072. Further, the beam quality correction factor K Q, which accounts for the difference in the energy spectrum of the photon beam (usually 60 Co) for which chamber has been calibrated, was determined for the 192 Ir source (average energy = 390 keV) by the interpolation method. The charge of the chamber was measured and corrected for non-uniformity, displacement, temperature, and pressure.

The gamma spectrum of the 192 Ir HDR radioactive source used in this study has been obtained from NuDat database. [14] The gamma rays have been simulated considering that 192 Ir is uniformly distributed in the source core. The beta spectrum has not been considered in simulation since its contribution to the dose rate distribution for distances greater than 1 mm from the source is negligible due to the encapsulation of the source and the catheter in which the source is introduced. [15] However, the models for the processes of Compton scattering, photoelectric effect, and Rayleigh scattering have been used simulated in the low energy package of EGSnrc. The cross-section tabulation with uncertainty was taken from the EPDL 97. [16]

The source was placed in the center of the water phantom of dimensions 40 Χ 40 Χ 40 cm. [17] The density of the water used in the simulation was 0.997 g/cm 3 at 22° C, as is recommended in TG-43 U1. In the simulation in water, the 10 9 primary photons were generated.

The source was kept fixed in the center of a water phantom along the Y axis with the tip of the source toward the + Y axis. The center of the source act as the center of the co-ordinate axes. The chamber was put along the Z axis with the tip toward the + Z axis. The center of the active length of chamber was put at the point of each measurement. For the radial dose function, the chamber was moved along the axis of the source i.e. along the X axis from 1 cm to 15 cm and the values at different distances were normalized to the value at 1 cm. For the 2D anisotropy function, the chamber was moved at a radial distance of r = 5 cm and at polar angles of θ = 0° to 180°. The measured and calculated results of the 2D anisotropy function were normalized to the result at polar co-ordinate (r = 5 cm, θ = 90°). To obtain the dose rate in the form D (X, Y), a grid system having 0.04 cm thick and 0.04 cm high cylindrical rings concentric to the longitudinal axis of the source has been used. To obtain the dose rate in the polar co-ordinate D (r,θ), a grid system composed of 0.04 cm thick concentric sections with an angular width of 5° in 0° to 30° range and 10° in 30° to 180° range in the polar angle were used.

Experimentally, a specially designed measurement set up was used to position the in-air ionization chamber at different co-ordinates of measurement by inserting chamber in its material's slots and the source in the water phantom. The set up had dimensions of 29 Χ 25 Χ 27 cm and comprised water equivalent material and low Z acrylic plates. This set up was fixed in the water phantom. A fine laser beam was projected over the set up to verify its saggital, transverse, and coronal cross-section planes. There were two parallel aligned scale systems which helped to determine exact horizontal and vertical positions of the in-air ionization chamber and of the applicator. However, for the calculation study of the air kerma strength, S k, was determined in a separate simulation of 10 8 histories. The source was positioned at the center of an air volume of 4 Χ 4 Χ 4 m 3 with a composition and density as recommended in TG-43 U1 of air of 40% relative humidity. It was calculated along the transverse axis of the source from 0 cm to 150 cm using water hollow 1 Χ 1 cm cylindrical voxels/cells. This configuration was chosen in order to simulate a real experimental measurement with a therapy level detector calibrated in water. These scoring voxels/cells assure volume averaging artifacts < 0.1% for distances greater than 5 mm from the source. [18] The scored energy in water was converted to air kerma by multiplication of the ratio of mass attenuation coefficients of air and water. Air attenuation and scattering was corrected with the factor 1.012 [19],[20]

 > Result Top

The measured and MC calculated dose rate constant values are 1.104 ± 0.99% cGy h -1 U -1 , and 1.106 ± 0.85% cGy h -1 U -1 with EGSnrc, which agree within ± 1% to each other, and also show similarity to the published value of 1.108 ± 0.13% cGy h -1 U -1 by Daskalov et al., [11] and 1.105 ± 0.85% cGy h -1 U -1 value of dose rate constant obtained in this work of the same source using MC GEANT4. In this work the calculation formalism proposed by TG-43 has been applied.

The radial dose functions for mHDR-v2 192 Ir source are presented in [Table 1] and [Figure 2]. The measured and calculated radial dose functions agree within 2% for distances up to 5 cm. However, for distances greater than 5 cm, the relative difference was found within 6% up to distance 10 cm. These results compare favorably with the published data of Daskalov et al. [11]
Table 1: The radial dose function for the mHDR-v2 192Ir source

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Figure 2: Radial dose functions for mHDR-v2 192Ir source

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The 2D anisotropy functions (r = 5 cm.) for mHDR-v2 192 Ir source is presented in [Table 2] and [Figure 3]. The measured and calculated values of 2D anisotropy functions (r = 5 cm) agree within 2% for polar angles 25 0 < θ < 140°. However, at angles θ < 25° and θ > 140°, the deviations were of the order of 2.3--6.28%. These results compare favorably with the published data of Daskalov et al. [11]
Table 2: 2D anisotropy function (r = 5 cm.) for the mHDR-v2 192Ir source

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Figure 3: 2D anisotropy functions (r = 5 cm) of mHDR-v2 192Ir source

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 > Discussion Top

The dose rate distribution obtained is shown in [Table 3]. The uncertainty in the evaluation of measurement of dose distribution was performed as per the E-4/02 1999 draft for the expression of the uncertainty of measurement in calibration. [21] The sources for uncertainty may arise from chamber, electrometer, temperature, and pressure, measurement set up and primary calibration of the ionization chamber.
Table 3: Dose rate per unit air kerma strength (cGyh-1U-1) around mHDR-v2 192Ir source

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The accuracy in determining the positioning of the chamber center was ± 0.2 mm from the absolute center. The outer diameter of the source applicator was 1.35 mm, and the outer diameter of the source was 0.9 mm. This means that source could be displaced to a maximum of ± 0.215 mm from the central axis of the applicator. The uncertainty in the positioning the applicator was 0.1 mm. Thus, the maximum uncertainty in positioning chamber, source, and applicator may be taken as ± 0.515 mm. The uncertainty due to positional error was performed for a reference distance 10 cm. Thus, the overall uncertainty including temperature and pressure, stability of the chamber, leakage, and chamber calibration was measured to be ± 1.32 mm.

The calculated uncertainties of dose rate have been evaluated according to the recommendations of TG-43 U1 considering the type A or statistical uncertainty due to the MC simulation of photon histories in dose rate and air kerma strength simulation, and the type B uncertainty due to the contribution of underlying cross-section data and that arising from the geometrical model of the source. In the simulation of water, the uncertainty in dose rate along the transverse axis is approximately equal to 0.5% except along the longitudinal axis where it has reached to more or less 1%.

Simulation of air kerma strength yielded an uncertainty of roughly 0.5%. The average type A uncertainty in the calculated study may be taken as 0.667% for all points. To estimate the uncertainty by MC due to the variations of the geometry from one source to another in the manufacturing process, the uncertainty is evaluated keeping the worst possible situation for the core and capsule dimensions of the source [Figure 1]. First, the thinnest capsule and thickest core possible and second, the thickest capsule and thinnest core possible are assumed here, which showed 0.5% variation to be considered.

The dose rate per unit air kerma strength in cGyh -1 U -1 around the mHDR-v2 192 Ir source measured in this study is presented in [Table 3]. Although ionization chambers are energy independent and show a linear response to the dose, the steep dose gradient inside the active volume of the ionization chamber nearer to the brachytherapy source gives large uncertainties in the measurement. The non-uniform photon fluence caused by the divergence of the incident photon is greatest for ionization chambers in the vicinity of the brachytherapy source. The MC and measured results show greater difference at smaller distance between the ionization chamber and brachytherapy source, which may be due to combination of steep dose gradient effect and positional error of the source, chamber, and applicator during measurement.

A comparison of dose distributions using EGSnrc and GEANT4 with Rayleigh scattering showed dose differences smaller than 2% for distances up to 5 cm. The measured and MC calculated radial dose functions show very good agreement for distances not more than 5 cm. For distances greater than 5 cm, the relative difference between measured and calculated data is slightly larger, which may be due to the different uncertainties and volumetric averaging effect. Approximately the same results are found when the measured data of this study are compared with the published values of Daskalov et al., [11] except of large distances, which may be due to the effect of size on the water phantom also.

The measured and MC calculated 2D anisotropy functions shows fair agreement for polar angles 25 0 < θ < 140 0 . However, at angles θ < 25 0 and θ > 140 0 deviations are much larger, which may be due to uncertainties and volumetric averaging effect. However, approximately same results are found when the measured data of this study are compared with the published values of Daskalov et al., [11] which may be due to very small voxel/cell sizes were chosen to have high resolution for 2D anisotropy function, which may have increased the statistical uncertainty.

 > Conclusion Top

In this study, the TG-43 dosimetric parameters have been determined for the 192 Ir mHDR-v2 source experimentally and theoretically using the MC EGSnrc and GEANT4. The results obtained in this study compare favorably to each other and to those reported previously. The radial dose function measured and calculated study of this source also show agreement with each other and with the published data. These dosimetric parameters can be used as input data to verify the calculations of TPS for exact dose delivery to the patient in brachytherapy.

 > References Top

1.Angelopoulos A, Baras P, Sakelliou L, Karaikos P. Monte Carlo dosimetry of a new 192Ir high dose rate brachytherapy source. Med Phys 2000;27:2521-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Karaikos P, Angelopoulos A, Sakelliou L, Sandilos P, Antypas C, Vlachos L, et al. Monte Carlo and TLD dosimetry of an 192Ir high dose rate brachytherapy source. Med Phys 1998;25:1975-84.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Kirov S, Williamson JF, Meigooni A, Meigooni S, Zhu Y. TLD diode and Monte Carlo dosimetry of an 192Ir source for high dose rate brachytherapy. Phys Med Biol 1995;40:2015-36.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Lux I, Koblinger L. Monte Carlo Particle Transport Methods. Neutron and Photon Calculations. Boca Raton. FL: CRC Press; 1991.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Rivard MJ, Coursey BM, DeWerd LA, Hanson WF, Huq MS, Ibbot GS, et al. Update of AAPM Task Group No. 43 Report. A revised AAPM protocol for brachytherapy dose calculations. Med Phys 2004;31:633-74.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Nath R, Anderson LL, Luxton G, Weaver KA, Williamson JF, Meigooni AS. Dosimetry of interstitial brachytherapy sources: Recommendations of the AAPM Radiation Therapy Committee Task Group No. 43. Med Phys 1995;22:209-34.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Williamson JF, Coursey BM, DeWerd LA, Hanson WF, Nath R. Dosimetric prerequisites for routine clinical use of low energy photon interstitial brachytherapy sources. Med Phys 1998;25:2269-70.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Stump KE, DeWerd LA, Micka JA, Anderson DR. Calibration of new high dose rate 192 Ir sources. Med Phys 2002;29:1483-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Selvam TP, Govindrajan KN, Nagrajan PS, Setulakshmi P, Bhatt BC. Monte Carlo aided room scatter studies in the primary air kerma strength standardization of a remote afterloading 192Ir HDR source. Phys Med Biol 2001;46:2299-315.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Williamson JF, Li Z. Monte Carlo aided dosimetry of the microSelectron pulsed and high dose rate 192 Ir sources. Med Phys 1995;22:809-19.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Daskalov GM, Loffler E, Williamson JF. Monte Carlo aided dosimetry of a new high dose rate brachytherapy source. Med Phys 1998;25:2200-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Baltas D, Geramani K, Loannidis GT, Hierholz K, Rogge B, Kolotas C, et al. Comparison of calibration procedures for 192 Ir high dose rate brachytherapy sources. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1999;43:653-61.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Marechal MH, Almeida De CE, Ferreira IH, Sibata C. Experimental derivation of wall correction factors for ionization chambers used in high dose rate 192Ir source calibration. Med Phys 2002;29:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.National Nuclear Data Center. Nuclear data from NuDat, a web-based database maintained by the National Nuclear Data Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY. Available from: http://www.nndc.bni.gov/nudat2/ [Last accessed on 2009 Dec 28].  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Baltas D, Karaiskos P, Papagionnis P, Sakelliou L, Loffler E, Zamboglou N. Beta versus gamma dosimetry close to 192 Ir brachytherapy sources. Med Phys 2001;28:1875-82.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Cullen D, Hubbell JH, Kissel L. The Evaluated Photon Data Library 97 version. Lowerence Livermor National Laboratory; 1997. (6 Rev 5) UCRL:50400.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Perez-Calatayud J, Granero D, Ballester F. Phantom size in brachytherapy source dosimetric studies. Med Phys 2004;31:2075-81.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Ballester F, Hernandez C, Perez- Catalayud J, Lliso F. Monte Carlo calculation of dose rate distributions around 192 Ir wires. Med Phys 1997;24:1221-8.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Calibration of photon and beta ray sources used in brachytherapy. IAEA-TECDOC-1274;March 2002.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Sander T. HDR brachytherapy dosimetry. Radition Standard′s User′s Meeting′s NPL:2003.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Expression of the uncertainty of measurement in calibration. European co-operation for Accreditation. 2002 December; EA:(4/02).  Back to cited text no. 21


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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