Out-of-field doses and neutron dose equivalents for electron beams from modern Varian and Elekta linear accelerators

Academic Article


  • Out-of-field doses from radiotherapy can cause harmful side effects or eventually lead to secondary cancers. Scattered doses outside the applicator field, neutron source strength values, and neutron dose equivalents have not been broadly investigated for high-energy electron beams. To better understand the extent of these exposures, we measured out-of-field dose characteristics of electron applicators for high-energy electron beams on two Varian 21iXs, a Varian TrueBeam, and an Elekta Versa HD operating at various energy levels. Out-of-field dose profiles and percent depth-dose curves were measured in a Wellhofer water phantom using a Farmer ion chamber. Neutron dose was assessed using a combination of moderator buckets and gold activation foils placed on the treatment couch at various locations in the patient plane on both the Varian 21iX and Elekta Versa HD linear accelerators. Our findings showed that out-of-field electron doses were highest for the highest electron energies. These doses typically decreased with increasing distance from the field edge but showed substantial increases over some distance ranges. The Elekta linear accelerator had higher electron out-of-field doses than the Varian units examined, and the Elekta dose profiles exhibited a second dose peak about 20 to 30 cm from central-axis, which was found to be higher than typical out-of-field doses from photon beams. Electron doses decreased sharply with depth before becoming nearly constant; the dose was found to decrease to a depth of approximately E(MeV)/4 in cm. With respect to neutron dosimetry, Q values and neutron dose equivalents increased with electron beam energy. Neutron contamination from electron beams was found to be much lower than that from photon beams. Even though the neutron dose equivalent for electron beams represented a small portion of neutron doses observed under photon beams, neutron doses from electron beams may need to be considered for special cases.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 6296785
  • Author List

  • Cardenas CE; Nitsch PL; Kudchadker RJ; Howell RM; Kry SF
  • Start Page

  • 442
  • End Page

  • 455
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 4