Comparing 2 Monte Carlo Systems in Use for Proton Therapy Research

Int J Part Ther. 2019 Summer;6(1):18-27. doi: 10.14338/IJPT-18-00043.1. Epub 2019 May 3.


Purpose: Several Monte Carlo transport codes are available for medical physics users. To ensure confidence in the accuracy of the codes, they must be continually cross-validated. This study provides comparisons between MC2 and Tool for Particle Simulation (TOPAS) simulations, that is, between medical physics applications for Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code (MCNPX) and Geant4.

Materials and methods: Monte Carlo simulations were repeated with 2 wrapper codes: TOPAS (based on Geant4) and MC2 (based on MCNPX). Simulations increased in geometrical complexity from a monoenergetic beam incident on a water phantom, to a monoenergetic beam incident on a water phantom with a bone or tissue slab at various depths, to a spread-out Bragg peak incident on a voxelized computed tomography (CT) geometry. The CT geometry cases consisted of head and neck tissue and lung tissue. The results of the simulations were compared with one another through dose or energy deposition profiles, r 90 calculations, and γ-analyses.

Results: Both codes gave very similar results with monoenergetic beams incident on a water phantom. Systematic differences were observed between MC2 and TOPAS simulations when using a lung or bone slab in a water phantom, particularly in the r 90 values, where TOPAS consistently calculated r 90 to be deeper by about 0.4%. When comparing the performance of the 2 codes in a CT geometry, the results were still very similar, exemplified by a 3-dimensional γ-analysis pass rate > 95% at the 2%-2-mm criterion for tissues from both head and neck and lung.

Conclusion: Differences between TOPAS and MC2 were minor and were not considered clinically relevant.

Keywords: Monte Carlo simulations; intercomparison.