This work investigates the feasibility of optimizing energy- and intensity-modulated electron beams for radiation therapy. A multileaf collimator (MLC) specially designed for modulated electron radiotherapy (MERT) was investigated both experimentally and by Monte Carlo simulations. An inverse-planning system based on Monte Carlo dose calculations was developed to optimize electron beam energy and intensity to achieve dose conformity for target volumes near the surface. The results showed that an MLC with 5 mm leaf widths could produce complex field shapes for MERT. Electron intra- and inter-leaf leakage had negligible effects on the dose distributions delivered with the MLC, even at shallow depths. Focused leaf ends reduced the electron scattering contributions to the dose compared with straight leaf ends. As anticipated, moving the MLC position toward the patient surface reduced the penumbra significantly. There were significant differences in the beamlet distributions calculated by an analytic 3-D pencil beam algorithm and the Monte Carlo method. The Monte Carlo calculated beamlet distributions were essential to the accuracy of the MERT dose distribution in cases involving large air gaps, oblique incidence and heterogeneous treatment targets (at the tissue-bone and bone-lung interfaces). To demonstrate the potential of MERT for target dose coverage and normal tissue sparing for treatment of superficial targets, treatment plans for a hypothetical treatment were compared using photon beams and MERT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging