Dosimetric verification of a commercial Monte Carlo treatment planning system (VMC++) for a 9 MeV electron beam

P. Schiapparelli, D. Zefiro, G. Taccini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this work was to evaluate the performance of the voxel-based Monte Carlo algorithm implemented in the commercial treatment planning system ONCENTRA MASTERPLAN for a 9 MeV electron beam produced by a linear accelerator Varian Clinac 2100 C/D. In order to realize an experimental verification of the computed data, three different groups of tests were planned. The first set was performed in a water phantom to investigate standard fields, custom inserts, and extended treatment distances. The second one concerned standard field, irregular entrance surface, and oblique incidence in a homogeneous PMMA phantom. The last group involved the introduction of inhomogeneities in a PMMA phantom to simulate high and low density materials such as bone and lung. Measurements in water were performed by means of cylindrical and plane-parallel ionization chambers, whereas measurements in PMMA were carried out by the use of radiochromic films. Point dose values were compared in terms of percentage difference, whereas the gamma index tool was used to perform the comparison between computed and measured dose profiles, considering different tolerances according to the test complexity. In the case of transverse scans, the agreement was searched in the plane formed by the intersection of beam axis and the profile (2D analysis), while for percentage depth dose curves, only the beam axis was explored (1D analysis). An excellent agreement was found for point dose evaluation in water (discrepancies smaller than 2%). Also the comparison between planned and measured dose profiles in homogeneous water and PMMA phantoms showed good results (agreement within 2%-2 mm). Profile evaluation in phantoms with internal inhomogeneities showed a good agreement in the case of "lung" insert, while in tests concerning a small "bone" inhomogeneity, a discrepancy was particularly evidenced in dose values on the beam axis. This is due to the inaccurate geometrical description of the phantom that is linked to the calculation voxel size, a feature over which the user has no control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1759-1767
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Electron therapy
  • Gamma index
  • Monte Carlo
  • Treatment verification
  • VMC++

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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