Purpose: To compare, via Monte Carlo simulations, homogeneous and non-homogenous breast models adopted for mean glandular dose (MGD) estimates in mammography vs. patient specific digital breast phantoms.
Methods: We developed a GEANT4 Monte Carlo code simulating four homogenous cylindrical breast models featured as follows: (1) semi-cylindrical section enveloped in a 5-mm adipose layer; (2) semi-elliptical section with a 4-mm thick skin; (3) semi-cylindrical section with a 1.45-mm skin layer; (4) semi-cylindrical section in a 1.45-mm skin layer and 2-mm subcutaneous adipose layer. Twenty patient specific digital breast phantoms produced from a dedicated CT scanner were assumed as reference in the comparison. We simulated two spectra produced from two anode/filter combinations. An additional digital breast phantom was produced via BreastSimulator software.
Results: With reference to the results for patient-specific breast phantoms and for W/Al spectra, models #1 and #3 showed higher MGD values by about 1% (ranges [-33%; +28%] and [-31%; +30%], respectively), while for model #4 it was 2% lower (range [-34%; +26%]) and for model #2 -11% (range [-39%; +14%]), on average. On the other hand, for W/Rh spectra, models #1 and #4 showed lower MGD values by 2% and 1%, while for model #2 and #3 it was 14% and 8% lower, respectively (ranges [-43%; +13%] and [-41%; +21%]). The simulation with the digital breast phantom produced with BreastSimulator showed a MGD overestimation of +33%.
Conclusions: The homogeneous breast models led to maximum MGD underestimation and overestimation of 43% and 28%, respectively, when compared to patient specific breast phantoms derived from clinical CT scans.
Keywords: Breast models; Mammography; Mean glandular dose; Monte Carlo simulations.
Copyright © 2018 Associazione Italiana di Fisica Medica. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.