Purpose: To evaluate methods of pretreatment IMRT analysis, using real measurements performed with a commercial 2D detector array, for clinical relevance and accuracy by comparing clinical DVH parameters.
Methods: We divided the work into two parts. The first part consisted of six in-phantom tests aimed to study the sensitivity of the different analysis methods. Beam fluences, 3D dose distribution, and DVH of an unaltered original plan were compared to those of the delivered plan, in which an error had been intentionally introduced. The second part consisted of comparing gamma analysis with DVH metrics for 17 patient plans from various sites. Beam fluences were measured with the MapCHECK 2 detector, per-beam planar analysis was performed with the MapCHECK software, and 3D gamma analysis and the DVH evaluation were performed using 3DVH software.
Results: In a per-beam gamma analysis some of the tests yielded false positives or false negatives. However, the 3DVH software correctly described the DVH of the plan which included the error. The measured DVH from the plan with controlled error agreed with the planned DVH within 2% dose or 2% volume. We also found that a gamma criterion of 3%∕3 mm was too lax to detect some of the forced errors. Global analysis masked some problems, while local analysis magnified irrelevant errors at low doses. Small hotspots were missed for all metrics due to the spatial resolution of the detector panel. DVH analysis for patient plans revealed small differences between treatment plan calculations and 3DVH results, with the exception of very small volume structures such as the eyes and the lenses. Target coverage (D(98) and D(95)) of the measured plan was systematically lower than that predicted by the treatment planning system, while other DVH characteristics varied depending on the parameter and organ.
Conclusions: We found no correlation between the gamma index and the clinical impact of a discrepancy for any of the gamma index evaluation possibilities (global, local, 2D, or 3D). Some of the tests yielded false positives or false negatives in a per-beam gamma analysis. However, they were correctly accounted for in a DVH analysis. We also showed that 3DVH software is reliable for our tests, and is a viable method for correlating planar discrepancies with clinical relevance by comparing the measured DVH of target and OAR's with clinical tolerance.