A multinational audit of small field output factors calculated by treatment planning systems used in radiotherapy

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Background and purpose: An audit methodology for verifying the implementation of output factors (OFs) of small fields in treatment planning systems (TPSs) used in radiotherapy was developed and tested through a multinational research group and performed on a national level in five different countries. Materials and methods: Centres participating in this study were asked to provide OFs calculated by their TPSs for 10 × 10 cm2, 6 × 6 cm2, 4 × 4 cm2, 3 × 3 cm2 and 2 × 2 cm2 field sizes using an SSD of 100 cm. The ratio of these calculated OFs to reference OFs was analysed. The action limit was ±3% for the 2 × 2 cm2 field and ±2% for all other fields. Results: OFs for more than 200 different beams were collected in total. On average, the OFs for small fields calculated by TPSs were generally larger than measured reference data. These deviations increased with decreasing field size. On a national level, 30% and 31% of the calculated OFs of the 2 × 2 cm2 field exceeded the action limit of 3% for nominal beam energies of 6 MV and for nominal beam energies higher than 6 MV, respectively. Conclusion: Modern TPS beam models generally overestimate the OFs for small fields. The verification of calculated small field OFs is a vital step and should be included when commissioning a TPS. The methodology outlined in this study can be used to identify potential discrepancies in clinical beam models.




Lechner, W., Wesolowska, P., Azangwe, G., Arib, M., Alves, V. G. L., Suming, L., … Izewska, J. (2018). A multinational audit of small field output factors calculated by treatment planning systems used in radiotherapy. Physics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology, 5, 58–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phro.2018.02.005

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