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In recent years, the Monte Carlo method has been used in a large number of research studies in radiation therapy. For applications such as treatment planning, it is essential to validate the dosimetric accuracy of the Monte Carlo simulations in heterogeneous media. The AAPM Report no 105 addresses issues concerning clinical implementation of Monte Carlo based treatment planning for photon and electron beams, however for proton-therapy planning, such guidance is not yet available. Here we present the results of our validation of the Monte Carlo model of the double scattering system used at our Proton Therapy Center in Houston. In this study, we compared Monte Carlo simulated depth doses and lateral profiles to measured data for a magnitude of beam parameters. We varied simulated proton energies and widths of the spread-out Bragg peaks, and compared them to measurements obtained during the commissioning phase of the Proton Therapy Center in Houston. Of 191 simulated data sets, 189 agreed with measured data sets to within 3% of the maximum dose difference and within 3 mm of the maximum range or penumbra size difference. The two simulated data sets that did not agree with the measured data sets were in the distal falloff of the measured dose distribution, where large dose gradients potentially produce large differences on the basis of minute changes in the beam steering. Hence, the Monte Carlo models of medium- and large-size double scattering proton-therapy nozzles were valid for proton beams in the 100 MeV-250 MeV interval. © 2008 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

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Physics in Medicine and Biology

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