Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Lei Dong, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sam Beddar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rajat J. Kudchadker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew K. Lee, M.D, MPH.

Committee Member

Uwe Titt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan Tucker, Ph.D.


Purpose: The rapid distal falloff of a proton beam allows for sparing of normal tissues distal to the target. However proton beams that aim directly towards critical structures are avoided due to concerns of range uncertainties, such as CT number conversion and anatomy variations. We propose to eliminate range uncertainty and enable prostate treatment with a single anterior beam by detecting the proton’s range at the prostate-rectal interface and adaptively adjusting the range in vivo and in real-time.

Materials and Methods: A prototype device, consisting of an endorectal liquid scintillation detector and dual-inverted Lucite wedges for range compensation, was designed to test the feasibility and accuracy of the technique. Liquid scintillation filled volume was fitted with optical fiber and placed inside the rectum of an anthropomorphic pelvic phantom. Photodiode-generated current signal was generated as a function of proton beam distal depth, and the spatial resolution of this technique was calculated by relating the variance in detecting proton spills to its maximum penetration depth. The relative water-equivalent thickness of the wedges was measured in a water phantom and prospectively tested to determine the accuracy of range corrections. Treatment simulation studies were performed to test the potential dosimetric benefit in sparing the rectum.

Results: The spatial resolution of the detector in phantom measurement was 0.5 mm. The precision of the range correction was 0.04 mm. The residual margin to ensure CTV coverage was 1.1 mm. The composite distal margin for 95% treatment confidence was 2.4 mm. Planning studies based on a previously estimated 2mm margin (90% treatment confidence) for 27 patients showed a rectal sparing up to 51% at 70 Gy and 57% at 40 Gy relative to IMRT and bilateral proton treatment.

Conclusion: We demonstrated the feasibility of our design. Use of this technique allows for proton treatment using a single anterior beam, significantly reducing the rectal dose.


adaptive radiotherapy, proton therapy, in vivo dosimetry, image-guided radiation therapy, scintillation dosimetry

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