Purpose: Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) includes features such as a variable dose rate and gantry speed in addition to the beam modulation achieved with multileaf collimator (MLC) motion patterns employed in intensity modulated radiotherapy. Three tests have previously been proposed for the evaluation of the performance of VMAT delivery. In order to enable a convenient and accurate routine machine quality control (QC) program, the present study proposes tolerance levels for these tests based on a department-wide implementation of an electronic portal imaging device (EPID)-based QC.
Methods: Three different VMAT tests--a picket fence (PF) test, a dose rate versus gantry speed (DRGS) test, and a dose rate versus MLC leaf speed (DRMLC) test--were performed on nine accelerators using two different EPIDs (aS1000 and aS500, Varian Medical Systems). All tests were repeated six times for each accelerator. The images were analyzed using an in-house-developed software. For the PF test, the positions and widths of individual MLC leaf gaps were compared to the mean value. In the DRGS and DRMLC tests, different combinations of dose rate, gantry speed, and MLC leaf speed were used to deliver identical doses to separate parts of the EPID. The tests were evaluated by looking for deviations in the constancy of the measured dose for the preset combinations of dose rate, gantry speed, and MLC leaf speed.
Results: For the PF test, a 0.3 mm tolerance level was suggested for the positioning of the MLC leaves. The tolerance level for the gap width was 0.5 mm. For the DRGS and DRMLC tests, a 3% tolerance level was proposed.
Conclusions: With the adapted levels of tolerance for an EPID-based approach, the PF, the DRGS, and the DRMLC tests offer a convenient and accurate machine QC program for linear accelerators used for VMAT.