Purpose: In vivo range verification is one of the most important parts of proton therapy to fully utilize its benefits delivering high radiation dose to tumor, while sparing the normal tissue with the so-called Bragg peak. Currently, however, range verification method is not used in clinics. The purpose of the present study is to optimize and evaluate the configuration of an array-type prompt gamma measurement system on determining distal dose edge for in vivo range verification of proton therapy. Methods: To effectively measure the prompt gammas against the background gammas, the Monte Carlo simulations with the MCNPX code were employed in optimizing the configuration of the measurement system, and the Monte Carlo method was also used to understand the effect of the background gammas, mainly neutron capture gammas, in the measured gamma distribution. To reduce the effect of the background gammas, the optimized energy window of 4-10 MeV in measuring the prompt gammas was employed. A parameterized source was used to maximize computation speed in the optimization study. A simplified test measurement system, using only one detector moving from one measurement location to the next, was constructed and applied to therapeutic proton beams of 80-220 MeV. For accurate determination of the distal dose edge, the sigmoidal curve-fitting method was applied to the measured distributions of the prompt gammas, and then, the location of the half-value between the maximum and minimum value in the curve-fitting was determined as the distal dose edge and compared with the beam range assessed by the proton dose distribution. Results: The parameterized source term employed in optimization process improved the calculation speed by up to ∼300 times. The optimization study indicates that an array-type measurement system with 3, 2, 2, and 150 mm for scintillator thickness, slit width, septal thickness, and slit length, respectively, can effectively measure the prompt gamma distributions minimizing the contribution of background gammas. The present results show that a few hundred counts of prompt gammas can be easily obtained by measuring 10 s at each measurement location for proton beams of ∼4 nA. The distal dose edges determined by the prompt gamma distribution are 5.45, 14.73, and 27.74 cm for proton beams of 5.17 (80 MeV), 14.99 (150 MeV), and 27.38 (220 MeV) cm, respectively. Conclusions: The results show that the array-type measurement system can measure prompt gamma distributions from a therapeutic proton beam within a short measurement time, and that the distal dose edge can be determined within a few millimeters of error without using any sophisticated analysis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging