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The prediction of late effects after radiotherapy in organs outside a treatment field requires accurate estimations of out-of-field dose. However, out-of-field dose is not calculated accurately by commercial treatment planning systems (TPSs). The purpose of this study was to develop and test an analytical model for out-of-field dose during craniospinal irradiation (CSI) from photon beams produced by a linear accelerator. In two separate evaluations of the model, we measured absorbed dose for a 6 MV CSI using thermoluminescent dosimeters placed throughout an anthropomorphic phantom and fit the measured data to an analytical model of absorbed dose versus distance outside of the composite field edge. These measurements were performed in two separate clinics - the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) and the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) - using the same phantom but different linear accelerators and TPSs commissioned for patient treatments. The measurement at AUBMC also included in-field locations. Measured dose values were compared to those predicted by TPSs and parameters were fit to the model in each setting. In each clinic, 95% of the measured data were contained within a factor of 0.2 and one root mean square deviation of the model-based values. The root mean square deviations of the mathematical model were 0.91 cGy Gy -1 and 1.67 cGy Gy-1 in the MD Anderson and AUBMC clinics, respectively. The TPS predictions agreed poorly with measurements in regions of sharp dose gradient, e.g., near the field edge. At distances greater than 1 cm from the field edge, the TPS underestimated the dose by an average of 14% ± 24% and 44% ± 19% in the MD Anderson and AUBMC clinics, respectively. The in-field measured dose values of the measurement at AUBMC matched the dose values calculated by the TPS to within 2%. Dose algorithms in TPSs systematically underestimated the actual out-of-field dose. Therefore, it is important to use an improved model based on measurements when estimating out-of-field dose. The model proposed in this study performed well for this purpose in two clinics and may be applicable in other clinics with similar treatment field configurations. © 2013 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

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Physics in Medicine and Biology

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