The influence of small field output factors simulated uncertainties on the calculated dose in VMAT plans for brain metastases: a multicentre study

Stefania Clemente, Maria Daniela Falco, Elisabetta Cagni, Cinzia Talamonti, Mafalda Boccia, Eva Gino, Elena Lorenzini, Federica Rosica, Serenella Russo, Alessandro Alparone, Daniele Zefiro, Christian Fiandra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This multicentric study was carried out to investigate the impact of small field output factors (OFs) inaccuracies on the calculated dose in volumetric arctherapy (VMAT) radiosurgery brain plans. Methods: Nine centres, realised the same five VMAT plans with common planning rules and their specific clinical equipment Linac/treatment planning system commissioned with their OFs measured values (OFbaseline). In order to simulate OFs errors, two new OFs sets were generated for each centre by changing only the OFs values of the smallest field sizes (from 3.2 × 3.2 cm2 to 1 × 1 cm2) with well-defined amounts (positive and negative). Consequently, two virtual machines for each centre were recommissioned using the new OFs and the percentage dose differences ΔD (%) between the baseline plans and the same plans recalculated using the incremented (OFup) and decremented (OFdown) values were evaluated. The ΔD (%) were analysed in terms of planning target volume (PTV) coverage and organs at risk (OARs) sparing at selected dose/volume points. Results: The plans recalculated with OFdown sets resulted in higher variation of doses than baseline within 1.6 and 3.4% to PTVs and OARs respectively; while the plans with OFup sets resulted in lower variation within 1.3% to both PTVs and OARs. Our analysis highlights that OFs variations affect calculated dose depending on the algorithm and on the delivery mode (field jaw/ MLC‐defined). The Monte Carlo (MC) algorithm resulted significantly more sensitive to OFs variations than all of the other algorithms. Conclusion: The aim of our study was to evaluate how small fields OFs inaccuracies can affect the dose calculation in VMAT brain radiosurgery treatments plans. It was observed that simulated OFs errors, return dosimetric calculation accuracies within the 3% between concurrent plans analysed in terms of percentage dose differences at selected dose/volume points of the PTV coverage and OARs sparing. Advances in knowledge: First multicentre study involving different Planning/Linacs about undetectable errors in commissioning output factor for small fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20201354
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1119
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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