Tomotherapy treatment plan quality assurance: The impact of applied criteria on passing rate in gamma index method

Sara Bresciani, Amalia Di Dia, Angelo Maggio, Claudia Cutaia, Anna Miranti, Erminia Infusino, Michele Stasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Pretreatment patient plan verification with gamma index (GI) metric analysis is standard procedure for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the variability of the local and global gamma index obtained during standard pretreatment quality assurance (QA) measurements for plans performed with Tomotherapy unit. The QA measurements were performed with a 3D diode array, using variable passing criteria: 3%/3 mm, 2%/2 mm, 1%/1 mm, each with both local and global normalization. Methods: The authors analyzed the pretreatment QA results for 73 verifications; 37 were prostate cancer plans, 16 were head and neck plans, and 20 were other clinical sites. All plans were treated using the Tomotherapy Hi-Art System. Pretreatment QA plans were performed with the commercially available 3D diode array ArcCHECK™. This device has 1386 diodes arranged in a helical geometry spaced 1 cm apart. The dose measurements were acquired on the ArcCHECK™ and then compared with the calculated dose using the standard gamma analysis method. The gamma passing rate (%GP), defined as the percentage of points satisfying the condition GI <1, was calculated for different criteria (3%/3 mm, 2%/2 mm, 1%/1 mm) and for both global and local normalization. In the case of local normalization method, the authors set three dose difference threshold (DDT) values of 2, 3, and 5 cGy. Dose difference threshold is defined as the minimum absolute dose error considered in the analysis when using local normalization. Low-dose thresholds (TH) of 5% and 10% were also applied and analyzed. Results: Performing a paired-t-test, the authors determined that the gamma passing rate is independent of the threshold values for all of the adopted criteria (5%TH vs 10%TH, p > 0.1). Our findings showed that mean %GPs for local (or global) normalization for the entire study group were 93% (98%), 84% (92%), and 66% (61%) for 3%/3 mm, 2%/2 mm, and 1%/1 mm criteria, respectively. DDT was equal to 2 cGy for the local normalization analysis cases. The authors observed great variability in the resulting %GP. With 3%/3 mm gamma criteria, the overall passing rate with local normalization was 4.6% less on the average than with global one, as expected. The wide difference between %GP calculated with global or local approach is also confirmed by an unpaired t-test statistical analysis. Conclusions: The variability of %GP obtained confirmed the necessity to establish defined agreement criteria that could be universal and comparable between institutions. In particular, while the gamma passing rate does not depend on the choice of threshold, the choice of DDT strongly influences the gamma passing rate for local calculations. The difference between global and local %GP was statistically significant for prostate and other treatment sites when DDT was changed from 2 to 3 cGy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121711
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Dosimetry
  • Gamma index
  • IMRT
  • Pretreatment quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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