Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy: A method to evaluate geometric and dosimetric uncertainties using radiochromic films

Gianluca Coscia, Elena Vaccara, Roberta Corvisiero, Paolo Cavazzani, Filippo Grillo Ruggieri, Gianni Taccini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the authors' hospital, stereotactic radiotherapy treatments are performed with a Varian Clinac 600C equipped with a BrainLAB m3 micro-multileaf-collimator generally using the dynamic conformal arc technique. Patient immobilization during the treatment is achieved with a fixation mask supplied by BrainLAB, made with two reinforced thermoplastic sheets fitting the patient's head. With this work the authors propose a method to evaluate treatment geometric accuracy and, consequently, to determine the amount of the margin to keep in the CTV-PTV expansion during the treatment planning. The reproducibility of the isocenter position was tested by simulating a complete treatment on the anthropomorphic phantom Alderson Rando, inserting in between two phantom slices a high sensitivity Gafchromic EBT film, properly prepared and calibrated, and repeating several treatment sessions, each time removing the fixing mask and replacing the film inside the phantom. The comparison between the dose distributions measured on films and computed by TPS, after a precise image registration procedure performed by a commercial piece of software (FILMQA, 3cognition LLC (Division of ISP), Wayne, NJ), allowed the authors to measure the repositioning errors, obtaining about 0.5 mm in case of central spherical PTV and about 1.5 mm in case of peripheral irregular PTV. Moreover, an evaluation of the errors in the registration procedure was performed, giving negligible values with respect to the quantities to be measured. The above intrinsic two-dimensional estimate of treatment accuracy has to be increased for the error in the third dimension, but the 2 mm margin the authors generally use for the CTV-PTV expansion seems adequate anyway. Using the same EBT films, a dosimetric verification of the treatment planning system was done. Measured dose values are larger or smaller than the nominal ones depending on geometric irradiation conditions, but, in the authors' experimental conditions, always within 4%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2870-2880
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Anthropomorphic phantom
  • Radiochromic films
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy
  • Treatment accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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