BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
A new protocol for calibration of proton beams was established by the ICRU in report 59 on proton dosimetry. In this paper we report the results of an international proton dosimetry intercomparison, which was held at Loma Linda University Medical Center. The goals of the intercomparison were, first, to estimate the level of consistency in absorbed dose delivered to patients if proton beams at various clinics were calibrated with the new ICRU protocol, and second, to evaluate the differences in absorbed dose determination due to differences in 60Co-based ionization chamber calibration factors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Eleven institutions participated in the intercomparison. Measurements were performed in a polystyrene phantom at a depth of 10.27 cm water equivalent thickness in a 6-cm modulated proton beam with an accelerator energy of 155 MeV and an incident energy of approximately 135 MeV. Most participants used ionization chambers calibrated in terms of exposure or air kerma. Four ionization chambers had 60Co-based calibration in terms of absorbed dose-to-water. Two chambers were calibrated in a 60Co beam at the NIST both in terms of air kerma and absorbed dose-to-water to provide a comparison of ionization chambers with different calibrations.
The intercomparison showed that use of the ICRU report 59 protocol would result in absorbed doses being delivered to patients at their participating institutions to within +/-0.9% (one standard deviation). The maximum difference between doses determined by the participants was found to be 2.9%. Differences between proton doses derived from the measurements with ionization chambers with N(K)-, or N(W) - calibration type depended on chamber type.
Using ionization chambers with 60Co calibration factors traceable to standard laboratories and the ICRU report 59 protocol, a distribution of stated proton absorbed dose is achieved with a difference less than 3%. The ICRU protocol should be adopted for clinical proton beam calibration. A comparison of proton doses derived from measurements with different chambers indicates that the difference in results cannot be explained only by differences in 60Co calibration factors.
1999. Vol. 51, no 3, 273-279 p.
Erratum in Radiother Oncol 1999 Sep;52(3):281.