Planning and delivery of intensity modulated bolus electron conformal therapy

Elizabeth N. Hilliard, Robert L. Carver, Erin L. Chambers, James A. Kavanaugh, Kevin J. Erhart, Andrew S. McGuffey, Kenneth R. Hogstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Bolus electron conformal therapy (BECT) is a clinically useful, well-documented, and available technology. The addition of intensity modulation (IM) to BECT reduces volumes of high dose and dose spread in the planning target volume (PTV). This paper demonstrates new techniques for a process that should be suitable for planning and delivering IM-BECT using passive radiotherapy intensity modulation for electrons (PRIME) devices. Methods: The IM-BECT planning and delivery process is an addition to the BECT process that includes intensity modulator design, fabrication, and quality assurance. The intensity modulator (PRIME device) is a hexagonal matrix of small island blocks (tungsten pins of varying diameter) placed inside the patient beam-defining collimator (cutout). Its design process determines a desirable intensity-modulated electron beam during the planning process, then determines the island block configuration to deliver that intensity distribution (segmentation). The intensity modulator is fabricated and quality assurance performed at the factory (.decimal, LLC, Sanford, FL). Clinical quality assurance consists of measuring a fluence distribution in a plane perpendicular to the beam in a water or water-equivalent phantom. This IM-BECT process is described and demonstrated for two sites, postmastectomy chest wall and temple. Dose plans, intensity distributions, fabricated intensity modulators, and quality assurance results are presented. Results: IM-BECT plans showed improved D90-10 over BECT plans, 6.4% versus 7.3% and 8.4% versus 11.0% for the postmastectomy chest wall and temple, respectively. Their intensity modulators utilized 61 (single diameter) and 246 (five diameters) tungsten pins, respectively. Dose comparisons for clinical quality assurance showed that for doses greater than 10%, measured agreed with calculated dose within 3% or 0.3 cm distance-to-agreement (DTA) for 99.9% and 100% of points, respectively. Conclusion: These results demonstrated the feasibility of translating IM-BECT to the clinic using the techniques presented for treatment planning, intensity modulator design and fabrication, and quality assurance processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-21
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • bolus electron conformal therapy
  • electron beams
  • intensity modulation


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