Differential dose volume histograms of Gamma Knife in the presence of inhomogeneities using MRI-polymer gel dosimetry and MC simulation
Polymer gel dosimeters offer a practical solution to 3D dose verification for conventional radiotherapy as well as intensity-modulated and stereotactic radiotherapy. In this study, EGSnrc calculated and PAGAT polymer gel dosimeter measured dose volume histograms (DVHs) for single-shot irradiations of the Gamma Knife (GK) unit were used to investigate the effects of the presence of inhomogeneities on 3D dose distribution. The head phantom was a custom-built 16 cm diameter Plexiglas sphere. Inside the phantom, there is a cubic cutout for inserting the gel vials and another cutout for inserting the inhomogeneities. Following irradiation with the GK unit, the polymer gel phantoms were scanned with a 1.5 T MRI scanner. Comparing the results of measurement in homogeneous and heterogeneous phantoms revealed that inserting inhomogeneities inside the homogeneous phantom did not cause considerable disturbances on dose distribution in irradiation with 8 mm collimator within low isodose levels (< 50%), which is essential for the dose sparing of sensitive structures. The results of simulation for homogeneous and inhomogeneous phantoms in irradiation with 18 mm collimator of the GK unit showed 23.24% difference in DVH within 90%-100% relative isodose level and also revealed that a significant part of the target (28.56%) received relative doses higher than the maximum dose, which exceeds the acceptance criterion (5%). Based on these results it is concluded that the presence of inhomogeneities inside the phantom can cause considerable errors in dose calculation within high isodose levels with respect to LGP prediction which assumes that the target is a homogeneous material. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the applied MC code is an accurate and stand-alone tool for 3D evaluation of dose distribution in irradiation with the GK unit, which can provide important, 3D plan evaluation criteria used in clinical practice.