Multi-institutional evaluation of end-to-end protocol for IMRT/VMAT treatment chains utilizing conventional linacs

Med Dosim. 2019;44(1):61-66. doi: 10.1016/j.meddos.2018.02.002. Epub 2018 Mar 20.


We conducted a multi-institutional assessment of a recently developed end-to-end monthly quality assurance (QA) protocol for external beam radiation therapy treatment chains. This protocol validates the entire treatment chain against a baseline to detect the presence of complex errors not easily found in standard component-based QA methods. Participating physicists from 3 institutions ran the end-to-end protocol on treatment chains that include Imaging and Radiation Oncology Core (IROC)-credentialed linacs. Results were analyzed in the form of American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Task Group (TG)-119 so that they may be referenced by future test participants. Optically stimulated luminescent dosimeter (OSLD), EBT3 radiochromic film, and A1SL ion chamber readings were accumulated across 10 test runs. Confidence limits were calculated to determine where 95% of measurements should fall. From calculated confidence limits, 95% of measurements should be within 5% error for OSLDs, 4% error for ionization chambers, and 4% error for (96% relative gamma pass rate) radiochromic film at 3% agreement/3 mm distance to agreement. Data were separated by institution, model of linac, and treatment protocol (intensity-modulated radiation therapy [IMRT] vs volumetric modulated arc therapy [VMAT]). A total of 97% of OSLDs, 98% of ion chambers, and 93% of films were within the confidence limits; measurements were found outside these limits by a maximum of 4%, < 1%, and < 1%, respectively. Data were consistent despite institutional differences in OSLD reading equipment and radiochromic film calibration techniques. Results from this test may be used by clinics for data comparison. Areas of improvement were identified in the end-to-end protocol that can be implemented in an updated version. The consistency of our data demonstrates the reproducibility and ease-of-use of such tests and suggests a potential role for their use in broad end-to-end QA initiatives.

Keywords: End-to-end test; IMRT; OSLD; Quality assurance; VMAT.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Humans
  • Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dosimetry*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / standards*