IMAT-SIM: A new method for the clinical dosimetry of intensity-modulated arc therapy (IMAT)

Mauro Iori, Elisabetta Cagni, Alan E. Nahum, Giovanni Borasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamic-gantry multi-leaf collimator (MLC)-based, intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMAT) has been proposed as an alternative to tomotherapy. In contrast to fixed-gantry, MLC-based intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), where commercial treatment planning systems (TPS) or dosimetric analysis software currently provide many automatic tools enabling two-dimensional (2D) detectors (matrix or electronic portal imaging devices) to be used as measurement systems, for the planning and delivery of IMAT these tools are generally not available. A new dosimetric method is proposed to overcome some of these limitations. By converting the MLC files of IMAT beams from arc to fixed gantry-angle modality, while keeping the leaf trajectories equal, IMAT plans can be both simulated in the TPS and executed as fixed-gantry, sliding-window DMLC treatments. In support of this idea, measurements of six IMAT plans, in their double form of original arcs and converted fixed-gantry DMLC beams (IMAT-SIM), have been compared among themselves and with their corresponding IMAT-SIM TPS calculations. Radiographic films and a 2D matrix ionization chamber detector rigidly attached to the accelerator gantry and set into a cubic plastic phantom have been used for these measurements. Finally, the TPS calculation-algorithm implementations of both conformal dynamic MLC arc (CD-ARC) modalities, used for clinical IMAT calculations, and DMLC modalities (IMAT-SIM), proposed as references for validating IMAT plan dose-distributions, have been compared. The comparisons between IMAT and IMAT-SIM delivered beams have shown very good agreement with similar shapes of the measured dose profiles which can achieve a mean deviation (±2σ) of (0.35±0.16) mm and (0.37±0.14) %, with maximum deviations of 1.5 mm and 3%. Matching the IMAT measurements with their corresponding IMAT-SIM data calculated by the TPS, these deviations remain in the range of (1.01±0.28) mm and (-1.76±0.42) %, with maximums of 3 mm and 5%, limits generally accepted for IMRT plan dose validation. Differences in the algorithm implementations have been found, but by correcting CD-ARC calculations for the leaf-end transmission offset (LTO) effect the IMAT and IMAT-SIM simulations agree well in terms of final dose distributions. The differences found between IMAT and the IMAT-SIM beam measurements are due to the different controls of leaf motion (via electron gun delay in the latter) that cannot be used in the former to correct possible speed variations in the rotation of the gantry. As the IMAT delivered beams are identical to what the patient will receive during the treatment, and the IMAT-SIM beam calculations made by the TPS reproduce exactly the treatment plans of that patient, the accuracy of this new dosimetric method is comparable to that which is currently used for static IMRT. This new approach of 2D-detector dosimetry, together with the commissioning, quality-assurance, and preclinical dosimetric procedures currently used for IMRT techniques, can be applied and extended to any kind of dynamic-gantry MLC-based treatment modality either CD-ARC or IMAT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2759-2773
Number of pages15
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Arc dosimetry
  • Dynamic multileaf collimation
  • EPID dosimetry
  • Intensity-modulated arc therapy
  • Matrix detectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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