Total skin electron therapy (TSET): A reimplementation using radiochromic films and IAEA TRS-398 code of practice

P. Schiapparelli, D. Zefiro, F. Massone, G. Taccini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this work is to present an updated implementation of total skin electron therapy (TSET) using IAEA TRS-398 code of practice for absolute dosimetry and taking advantage of the use of radiochromic films. The optimization of quality control tests is also included. Methods: A Varian 2100 C/D linear accelerator equipped with the special procedure HDTSe- (high dose rate total skin electron mode, E=6 MeV) was employed to perform TSET irradiations using the modified Stanford technique. The commissioning was performed following the AAPM report 23 recommendations. In particular, for dual-field beams irradiation, the optimal tilt angle was investigated and the dose distribution in the treatment plane was measured. For a complete six dual-field beams irradiation, the treatment skin dose on the surface of a cylindrical phantom was evaluated by radiochromic films and the B factor which relates the single dual-field skin dose to the six dual-field skin dose was assessed. Since the TRS-398 reference conditions do not meet the requirements of TSET absolute dosimetry, GafChromic EBT films were also employed to check and validate the application of the protocol. Simplified procedures were studied to verify beam constancy in PMMA phantoms without the more difficult setup of total skin irradiation. Results: The optimized geometrical setup for dual-field beams was: Tilt angle=±19°, SSD=353 cm, and the beam degrader (200×100×1 cm3) placed at 320 cm from the source. As regards to dose homogeneity in the treatment plane, for dual-field beams irradiation, the mean relative dose value was 97%±5% (normalizing to 100% at the calibration point level). For six dual-field beams irradiation, the multiplication factor B was 2.63. In addition, beam quality, dose rate, and bremsstrahlung contribution were also suitable for TSET treatments. The TRS-398 code of practice was used for TSET dosimetry, as dose measurements performed by ionization chamber and radiochromic film agreed within 2.5%. Simplified quality control tests and baseline values were presented in order to check flatness, symmetry, and field size with radiochromic films and output and beam quality constancy with ionization chamber. Short-term reproducibility and MU linearity tests were also included. Conclusions: Commissioning parameters met the requirements of TSET treatments and the matching of AAPM guidelines with the IAEA code of practice was successful. Frequent beam performance controls can be easily performed through the presented quality assurance tests. Radiochromic dosimetry facilitated the TSET commissioning and played a major role to validate the application of TRS-398.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3510-3517
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • absolute dosimetry
  • IAEA TRS-398
  • quality assurance
  • radiochromic films
  • total skin irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


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