Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology vol:54 issue:1 pages:29-37
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In view of using portal images for exit dosimetry, an experimental study is performed of relative transit dose profiles at different distances behind patients (and phantoms) and of their relation to the exit dose profile. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Irregular, homogeneous polystyrene phantoms with a variable thickness to simulate head and neck (H&N) treatments (6-MV photon beam) are investigated by ionization chamber measurements performed close to the exit surface and at various distances behind the phantom (10, 20 and 30 cm). Similar measurements are performed for a rectangular phantom with large inhomogeneities (A1 and air). For one irregular homogeneous phantom and an irregular phantom containing an A1 inhomogeneity, ionization chamber measurements are performed at the exit surface, and a portal film image is taken at 30 cm behind the phantom. Portal films of a patient treated for a head and neck malignancy are evaluated for different air gaps behind the patient. RESULTS: For the irregular phantoms, deviations up to 15% and more are observed between the exit dose profile (along the shaped surface of the phantom) and the transit profile close to the phantom (perpendicular to the beam axis). There is, however, a good agreement--within 3%--between the exit profile and the transit profile at 30 cm. For the rectangular, inhomogeneous phantom, the deviation between the exit profile and the transit dose profile at 30 cm does not exceed 5%; transit dose profiles overestimate the exit dose for the air cavity and underestimate the dose for the A1 inhomogeneity. Measurements on portal films of a H&N patient for different air gaps confirm the order of magnitude of the difference observed between transit dose profiles close to the patient and transit dose profiles at some distance behind the patient. CONCLUSIONS: For 6-MV photon beam treatments with significant thickness variations (H&N), large variations (> 10%) are observed in transit dose profiles as a function of the air gap between the patient and the portal film. For this energy, a good agreement is found between the exit profile and the transit profile at about 30 cm behind the patient.