A three-dimensional CT assisted Monte Carlo evaluation of intracavitary brachytherapy implants

Kent A Gifford, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Intracavitary brachytherapy (ICB) combined with external beam irradiation for treatment of cervical cancer is highly successful in achieving local control. The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center employs Fletcher Suit Delclos (FSD) applicators. FSD applicators contain shields to limit dose to critical structures. Dosimetric evaluation of ICB implants is limited to assessing dose at reference points. These points serve as surrogates for treatment intensity and critical structure dose. Several studies have mentioned that the ICRU38 reference points inadequately characterize the dose distribution. Also, the ovoid shields are rarely considered in dosimetry. The goal of this dissertation was to ascertain the influence of the ovoid shields on patient dose distributions. Monte Carlo dosimetry (MCD) was applied to patient computed tomography(CT) scans. These data were analyzed to determine the effect of the shields on dose to standard reference points and the bladder and rectum. The hypothesis of this work is that the ICRU38 bladder and rectal points computed conventionally are not clinically acceptable surrogates for the maximum dose points as determined by MCD. MCD was applied to the tandem and ovoids. The FSD ovoids and tandem were modeled in a single input file that allowed dose to be calculated for any patient. Dose difference surface histograms(DDSH) were computed for the bladder and rectum. Reference point doses were compared between shielded and unshielded ovoids, and a commercial treatment planning system. The results of this work showed the tandem tip screw caused a 33% reduction in dose. The ovoid shields reduced the dose by a maximum of 48.9%. DDSHs revealed on average 5% of the bladder surface area was spared 53 cGy and 5% of the rectal surface area was spared 195 cGy. The ovoid shields on average reduced the dose by 18% for the bladder point and 25% for the rectal point. The Student's t-test revealed the ICRU38 bladder and rectal points do not predict the maximum dose for these organs. It is concluded that modeling the tandem and ovoid internal structures is necessary for accurate dose calculations, the bladder shielding segments may not be necessary, and that the ICRU38 bladder point is irrelevant.

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Recommended Citation

Gifford, Kent A, "A three-dimensional CT assisted Monte Carlo evaluation of intracavitary brachytherapy implants" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131479.