The TOPAS tool for particle simulation, a Monte Carlo simulation tool for physics, biology and clinical research

Phys Med. 2020 Apr;72:114-121. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmp.2020.03.019. Epub 2020 Apr 3.


Purpose: This paper covers recent developments and applications of the TOPAS TOol for PArticle Simulation and presents the approaches used to disseminate TOPAS.

Materials and methods: Fundamental understanding of radiotherapy and imaging is greatly facilitated through accurate and detailed simulation of the passage of ionizing radiation through apparatus and into a patient using Monte Carlo (MC). TOPAS brings Geant4, a reliable, experimentally validated MC tool mainly developed for high energy physics, within easy reach of medical physicists, radiobiologists and clinicians. Requiring no programming knowledge, TOPAS provides all of the flexibility of Geant4.

Results: After 5 years of development followed by its initial release, TOPAS was subsequently expanded from its focus on proton therapy physics to incorporate radiobiology modeling. Next, in 2018, the developers expanded their user support and code maintenance as well as the scope of TOPAS towards supporting X-ray and electron therapy and medical imaging. Improvements have been achieved in user enhancement through software engineering and a graphical user interface, calculational efficiency, validation through experimental benchmarks and QA measurements, and either newly available or recently published applications. A large and rapidly increasing user base demonstrates success in our approach to dissemination of this uniquely accessible and flexible MC research tool.

Conclusions: The TOPAS developers continue to make strides in addressing the needs of the medical community in applications of ionizing radiation to medicine, creating the only fully integrated platform for four-dimensional simulation of all forms of radiotherapy and imaging with ionizing radiation, with a design that promotes inter-institutional collaboration.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Proton Therapy*