Current Brachytherapy Quality Assurance Guidance: Does It Meet the Challenges of Emerging Image-Guided Technologies?

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In the past decade, brachytherapy has shifted from the traditional surgical paradigm to more modern three-dimensional image-based planning and delivery approaches. The role of intraoperative and multimodality image-based planning is growing. Published American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American College of Radiology, European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, and International Atomic Energy Agency quality assurance (QA) guidelines largely emphasize the QA of planning and delivery devices rather than processes. These protocols have been designed to verify compliance with major performance specifications and are not risk based. With some exceptions, complete and clinically practical guidance exists for sources, QA instrumentation, non-image-based planning systems, applicators, remote afterloading systems, dosimetry, and calibration. Updated guidance is needed for intraoperative imaging systems and image-based planning systems. For non-image-based brachytherapy, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Task Group reports 56 and 59 provide reasonable guidance on procedure-specific process flow and QA. However, improved guidance is needed even for established procedures such as ultrasound-guided prostate implants. Adaptive replanning in brachytherapy faces unsolved problems similar to that of image-guided adaptive external beam radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S18-S22
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - May 1 2008


  • Brachytherapy
  • Image-guided radiotherapy
  • Quality assurance


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