Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT), an alternative preclinical treatment strategy using spatially modulated synchrotron radiation on a micrometer scale, has the great potential to cure malignant tumors (e.g., brain tumors) while having low side effects on normal tissue. Dose measurement and calculation in MRT is challenging because of the spatial accuracy required and the arising high dose differences. Dose calculation with Monte Carlo simulations is time consuming and their accuracy is still a matter of debate. In particular, the influence of photon polarization has been discussed in the literature. Moreover, it is controversial whether a complete knowledge of phase space trajectories, i.e., the simulation of the machine from the wiggler to the collimator, is necessary in order to accurately calculate the dose.
With Monte Carlo simulations in the Geant4 toolkit, the authors investigate the influence of polarization on the dose distribution and the therapeutically important peak to valley dose ratios (PVDRs). Furthermore, the authors analyze in detail phase space information provided byMartínez-Rovira et al. [“Development and commissioning of a Monte Carlo photon model for the forthcoming clinical trials in microbeam radiation therapy,” Med. Phys.39(1), 119–131 (2012)] and examine its influence on peak and valley doses. A simple source model is developed using parallel beams and its applicability is shown in a semiadjoint Monte Carlo simulation. Results are compared to measurements and previously published data.
Polarization has a significant influence on the scattered dose outside the microbeam field. In the radiation field, however, dose and PVDRs deduced from calculations without polarization and with polarization differ by less than 3%. The authors show that the key consequences from the phase space information for dose calculations are inhomogeneous primary photon flux, partial absorption due to inclined beam incidence outside the field center, increased beam width and center to center distance due to the beam propagation from the collimator to the phantom surface and imperfect absorption in the absorber material of the Multislit Collimator. These corrections have an effect of approximately 10% on the valley dose and suffice to describe doses in MRT within the measurement uncertainties of currently available dosimetry techniques.
The source for the first clinical pet trials in MRT is characterized with respect to its phase space and the photon polarization. The results suggest the use of a presented simplified phase space model in dose calculations and hence pave the way for alternative and fast dose calculation algorithms. They also show that the polarization is of minor importance for the clinical important peak and valley doses inside the microbeam field.