Comparison of dose distributions in IMRT planning using the gamma function

C. Andenna, M. Benassi, Barbara Caccia, S. Marzi, M. Pedrini, C. Zicari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) (1) is an advanced form of 3-D conformai radiotherapy. It uses non uniform spatial modifications in the intensity of the beams across the irradiated field. Consequently, it is necessary to develop sophisticated tools to compare measured and calculated dose distributions in order to verify the accuracy of the results of the planned dose distribution. Different methods have been developed to evaluate the accordance between measured and calculated doses, such as the point-to-point dose difference or the evaluation of the distance between two closed points having the same dose value (2-4). The verification method proposed by Low (5-7) seems to be more complete since it takes into account both the dose difference (DD) and the distance to agreement (DTA), allowing to define a "score", the gamma value, at each point of interest. A software tool (DDE: Dose Distribution Evaluator), based on Low's method, to evaluate the agreement between dose distribution matrices has been implemented. In particular, the proposed gamma curve, as a function of the isodose levels, gives real-time information useful for decision making about the treatment plan. The paper describes the software, and reports the obtained results in a simple geometry and in several clinical cases (head-neck and prostate). Comparison between measured data (film and MapCheck) and calculated data (CadPlan) using DDE has shown very good agreements. Thanks to its higher resolution, film dosimetry showed better accuracy than the MapCheck technique. Similar results can be obtained also with the MapCheck technique when proper measurement methods are used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Gamma function
  • Intensity modulation radiation therapy
  • Quality assurance
  • Radiotherapy
  • Treatment planning system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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