Purpose: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that a bolus electron conformal therapy (ECT) dose plan and a mixed beam plan, composed of an intensity modulated x-ray therapy (IMXT) dose plan optimized on top of the bolus ECT plan, can be accurately delivered. Methods: Calculated dose distributions were compared with measured dose distributions for parotid and chest wall (CW) bolus ECT and mixed beam plans, each simulated in a cylindrical polystyrene phantom that allowed film dose measurements. Bolus ECT plans were created for both parotid and CW PTVs (planning target volumes) using 20 and 16 MeV beams, respectively, whose 90% dose surface conformed to the PTV. Mixed beam plans consisted of an IMXT dose plan optimized on top of the bolus ECT dose plan. The bolus ECT, IMXT, and mixed beam dose distributions were measured using radiographic films in five transverse and one sagittal planes for a total of 36 measurement conditions. Corrections for film dose response, effects of edge-on photon irradiation, and effects of irregular phantom optical properties on the Cerenkov component of the film signal resulted in high precision measurements. Data set consistency was verified by agreement of depth dose at the intersections of the sagittal plane with the five measured transverse planes. For these same depth doses, results for the mixed beam plan agreed with the sum of the individual depth doses for the bolus ECT and IMXT plans. The six mean measured planar dose distributions were compared with those calculated by the treatment planning system for all modalities. Dose agreement was assessed using the 4% dose difference and 0.2 cm distance to agreement. Results: For the combined high-dose region and low-dose region, pass rates for the parotid and CW plans were 98.7% and 96.2%, respectively, for the bolus ECT plans and 97.9% and 97.4%, respectively, for the mixed beam plans. For the high-dose gradient region, pass rates for the parotid and CW plans were 93.1% and 94.62%, respectively, for the bolus ECT plans and 89.2% and 95.1%, respectively, for the mixed beam plans. For all regions, pass rates for the parotid and CW plans were 98.8% and 97.3%, respectively, for the bolus ECT plans and 97.5% and 95.9%, respectively, for the mixed beam plans. For the IMXT component of the mixed beam plans, pass rates for the parotid and CW plans were 93.7% and 95.8%. Conclusions: Bolus ECT and mixed beam therapy dose delivery to the phantom were more accurate than IMXT delivery, adding confidence to the use of planning, fabrication, and delivery for bolus ECT tools either alone or as part of mixed beam therapy. The methodology reported in this work could serve as a basis for future standardization of the commissioning of bolus ECT or mixed beam therapy. When applying this technology to patients, it is recommended that an electron dose algorithm more accurate than the pencil beam algorithm, e.g., a Monte Carlo algorithm or analytical transport such as the pencil beam redefinition algorithm, be used for planning to ensure the desired accuracy.
- delivery confirmation
- electron conformal therapy
- intensity modulated radiation therapy
- mixed beam therapy