Monte Carlo and analytical dose calculations for ocular proton therapy

Nicholas Corey Koch, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Uveal melanoma is a rare but life-threatening form of ocular cancer. Contemporary treatment techniques include proton therapy, which enables conservation of the eye and its useful vision. Dose to the proximal structures is widely believed to play a role in treatment side effects, therefore, reliable dose estimates are required for properly evaluating the therapeutic value and complication risk of treatment plans. Unfortunately, current simplistic dose calculation algorithms can result in errors of up to 30% in the proximal region. In addition, they lack predictive methods for absolute dose per monitor unit (D/MU) values. To facilitate more accurate dose predictions, a Monte Carlo model of an ocular proton nozzle was created and benchmarked against measured dose profiles to within ±3% or ±0.5 mm and D/MU values to within ±3%. The benchmarked Monte Carlo model was used to develop and validate a new broad beam dose algorithm that included the influence of edgescattered protons on the cross-field intensity profile, the effect of energy straggling in the distal portion of poly-energetic beams, and the proton fluence loss as a function of residual range. Generally, the analytical algorithm predicted relative dose distributions that were within ±3% or ±0.5 mm and absolute D/MU values that were within ±3% of Monte Carlo calculations. Slightly larger dose differences were observed at depths less than 7 mm, an effect attributed to the dose contributions of edge-scattered protons. Additional comparisons of Monte Carlo and broad beam dose predictions were made in a detailed eye model developed in this work, with generally similar findings. Monte Carlo was shown to be an excellent predictor of the measured dose profiles and D/MU values and a valuable tool for developing and validating a broad beam dose algorithm for ocular proton therapy. The more detailed physics modeling by the Monte Carlo and broad beam dose algorithms represent an improvement in the accuracy of relative dose predictions over current techniques, and they provide absolute dose predictions. It is anticipated these improvements can be used to develop treatment strategies that reduce the incidence or severity of treatment complications by sparing normal tissue.

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Recommended Citation

Koch, Nicholas Corey, "Monte Carlo and analytical dose calculations for ocular proton therapy" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3249199.