Purpose: Treatment planning systems (TPSs) for MR-linacs must employ Monte Carlo-based simulations of dose deposition to model the effects of the primary magnetic field on dose. However, the accuracy of these simulations, especially for areas of tissue-air interfaces where the electron return effect (ERE) is expected, is difficult to validate due to physical constraints and magnetic field compatibility of available detectors. This study employs a novel dosimetric method based on remotely captured, real-time optical Cherenkov and scintillation imaging to visualize and quantify the ERE. Methods: An intensified CMOS camera was used to image two phantoms with designed ERE cavities. Phantom A was a 40 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm clear acrylic block drilled with five holes of increasing diameters (0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4 cm). Phantom B was a clear acrylic block (25 cm × 20 cm × 5 cm) with three cavities of increasing diameter (3, 2, 1 cm) split into two halves in the transverse plane to accommodate radiochromic film. Both phantoms were imaged while being irradiated by 6 MV flattening filter free (FFF) beams within a MRIdian Viewray (Viewray, Cleveland, OH) MR-linac (0.34 T primary field). Phantom A was imaged while being irradiated by 6 MV FFF beams on a conventional linac (TrueBeam, Varian Medical Systems, San Jose, CA) to serve as a control. Images were post processed in Matlab (Mathworks Inc., Natick, MA) and compared to TPS dose volumes. Results: Control imaging of Phantom A without the presence of a magnetic field supports the validity of the optical image data to a depth of 6 cm. In the presence of the magnetic field, the optical data shows deviations from the commissioned TPS dose in both intensity and localization. The largest air cavity examined (3 cm) indicated the largest dose differences, which were above 20% at some locations. Experiments with Phantom B illustrated similar agreement between optical and film dosimetry comparisons with TPS data in areas not affected by ERE. Conclusion: There are some appreciable differences in dose intensity and spatial dose distribution observed between the novel experimental data set and the dose models produced by the current clinically implemented MR-IGRT TPS.
- electron return effect