Design and dosimetric characteristics of a high dose rate remotely afterloaded endocavitary applicator system

Ali S. Meigooni, Zhu Yimin, Jeffrey F. Williamson, Robert J. Myerson, Steven Teague, Edgar Löffler, Gilbert H. Nussbaum, Eric E. Klein, Ira J. Kodner

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Purpose: An applicator is described for endocavitary treatment of rectal cancers using a high dose rate (HDR) remote afterloading system with a single high-intensity 192Ir source as an alternative to the 50 kVp x-ray therapy contact unit most frequently used in this application. Methods and Materials: The applicator consists of a tungsten-alloy collimator with a 45° beveled end, placed in a proctoscope with an elliptical cross-section. The resultant 3 cm diameter circular treatment aperture, located in the beveled face of the proctoscope, is irradiated by circular array of dwell positions located about 6.5 mm from the applicator surface. This beveled end allows patients with posterior wall tumors to be treated in the dorsal lithotomy position. The dose-rate distributions about the applicator were determined using a combination of thermoluminescent dosimetry (TLD-100 detectors) and radiochromic film dose measurement techniques along with Monte Carlo dosimetry calculations. TLD-100 (3 x 3 x 0.9 mm3 chips) measurements were used to measure the distribution of dose over the proctoscope surface as well as the central axis dose-rate distribution. Relative radiochromic film measurements were used to measure off-axis ratios (flatness and penumbra width) within the treatment aperture. These data were combined with Monte Carlo simulation results to obtain the final dose distribution. Results: The tungsten collimator successfully limits the dose to the tissue in contact with the proctoscope walls to less than 12% of the prescribed dose. These results indicate that the HDR applicator system has slightly more penetrating depth-dose characteristics than the most widely used contact therapy x-ray machine. Flatness characteristics of the two treatment delivery systems are comparable, although the HDR endocavitary applicator has a significantly wider penumbra. Finally, the HDR applicator has a lower surface dose rate (1.5-4 Gy/min of dwell time) compared to 9-10 Gy/min for the x-ray unit. Conclusions: An applicator system has been developed for endocavitary treatment of early stage rectal carcinoma that uses a single-stepping source HDR remote afterloading system as a radiation source. The advantages of the HDR-based system over x-ray therapy contact units currently used in this clinical application are (a) enhanced flexibility in applicator design and (b) widespread availability of single-stepping source HDR remote afterloading systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1163
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 15 1996


  • Contact x-ray therapy
  • Dosimetry
  • HDR
  • Monte Carlo
  • Radiochromic film
  • Rectal cancer
  • Remote afterloading system
  • TLD


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