Dose calculations for preclinical radiobiology experiments conducted with single-field cabinet irradiators

Med Phys. 2022 Mar;49(3):1911-1923. doi: 10.1002/mp.15487. Epub 2022 Feb 9.


Purpose: To provide percentage depth dose (PDD) data along the central axis for dosimetry calculations in small-animal radiation biology experiments performed in cabinet irradiators. The PDDs are provided as a function of source-to-surface distance (SSD), field size, and animal size.

Methods: The X-ray tube designs for four biological cabinet irradiators, the RS2000, RT250, MultiRad350, and XRAD320, were simulated using the BEAMnrc Monte Carlo code to generate 160, 200, 250, and 320 kVp photon beams, respectively. The 320 kVp beam was simulated with two filtrations: a soft F1 aluminium filter and a hard F2 thoraeus filter made of aluminium, tin, and copper. Beams were collimated into circular fields with diameters of 0.5-10 cm at SSDs of 10-60 cm. Monte Carlo dose calculations in 1-5-cm diameter homogeneous (soft tissue) small-animal phantoms as well as in heterogeneous phantoms with 3-mm diameter cylindrical lung and bone inserts (rib and cortical bone) were performed using DOSXYZnrc. The calculated depth doses in three test-cases were estimated by applying SSD, field size, and animal size correction factors to a reference case (40-cm SSD, 1-cm field, and 5-cm animal size), and these results were compared with the specifically simulated (i.e., expected) doses to assess the accuracy of this method. Dosimetry for two test-case scenarios of 160 and 250 kVp beams (representative of end-user beam qualities) was also performed, whereby the simulated PDDs at two different depths were compared with the results based on the interpolation from reference data.

Results: The depth doses for three test-cases calculated at 200, 320 kVp F1, and 320 kVp F2 with half value layers (HVLs) ranging from ∼0.6 to 3.6 mm Cu, agreed well with the expected doses, yielding dose differences of 1.2%, 0.1%, and 1.0%, respectively. The two end-user test-cases for 160 and 250 kVp beams with respective HVLs of ∼0.8 and 1.8 mm Cu yielded dose differences of 1.4% and 3.2% between the simulated and the interpolated PDDs. The dose increase at the bone-tissue proximal interface ranged from 1.2 to 2.5 times the dose in soft tissue for rib and 1.3 to 3.7 times for cortical bone. The dose drop-off at 1-cm depth beyond the bone ranged from 1.3% to 6.0% for rib and 3.2% to 11.7% for cortical bone. No drastic dose perturbations occurred in the presence of lung, with lung-tissue interface dose of >99% of soft tissue dose and <3% dose increase at 1-cm depth beyond lung.

Conclusions: The developed dose estimation method can be used to translate the measured dose at a point to dose at any depth in small-animal phantoms, making it feasible for preclinical calculation of dose distributions in animals irradiated with cabinet-style irradiators. The dosimetric impact of bone must be accurately quantified as dramatic dose perturbations at and beyond the bone interfaces can occur due to the relative importance of the photoelectric effect at kilovoltage energies. These results will help improve dosimetric accuracy in preclinical experiments.

Keywords: Monte Carlo; TG-319; depth-dose; radiobiology dosimetry; small-animal radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiobiology*
  • Radiometry* / methods
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods