A software tool for the quantitative evaluation of 3D dose calculation algorithms

William B. Harms, Daniel A. Low, John W. Wong, James A. Purdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Current methods for evaluating modem radiation therapy treatment planning (RTP) systems include the manual superposition of calculated and measured isodose curves and the comparison of a limited number of calculated and measured point doses. Both techniques have significant limitations in providing quantitative evaluations of the large number of dose data generated by modem RTP systems. More sophisticated comparison techniques have been presented in the literature, including dose-difference and distance-to- agreement (DTA) analyses. A software tool has been developed that uses superimposed isodose plots, dose-difference, and DTA distributions to quantify errors in computed dose distributions. Dose-difference and DTA analyses are overly sensitive in regions of high- and low-dose gradient, respectively. The logical union of locations that fail both dose-difference and DTA acceptance criteria, termed the composite evaluation, is calculated and displayed. The composite evaluation provides a method for the physicist to efficiently identify regions that fail both the dose-difference and DTA acceptance criteria. The tool provides a computer platform for the quantitative comparison of calculated and measured dose distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1830-1836
Number of pages7
JournalMedical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • 3D radiation therapy treatment planning
  • Dose calculation
  • Dose calculation verification


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