A virtual source model for Monte Carlo simulation of helical tomotherapy

Jiankui Yuan, Yi Rong, Quan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to present a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation method based on a virtual source, jaw, and MLC model to calculate dose in patient for helical tomotherapy without the need of calculating phase-space files (PSFs). Current studies on the tomotherapy MC simulation adopt a full MC model, which includes extensive modeling of radiation source, primary and secondary jaws, and multileaf collimator (MLC). In the full MC model, PSFs need to be created at different scoring planes to facilitate the patient dose calculations. In the present work, the virtual source model (VSM) we established was based on the gold standard beam data of a tomotherapy unit, which can be exported from the treatment planning station (TPS). The TPS-generated sinograms were extracted from the archived patient XML (eXtensible Markup Language) files. The fluence map for the MC sampling was created by incorporating the percentage leaf open time (LOT) with leaf filter, jaw penumbra, and leaf latency contained from sinogram files. The VSM was validated for various geometry setups and clinical situations involving heterogeneous media and delivery quality assurance (DQA) cases. An agreement of < 1% was obtained between the measured and simulated results for percent depth doses (PDDs) and open beam profiles for all three jaw settings in the VSM commissioning. The accuracy of the VSM leaf filter model was verified in comparing the measured and simulated results for a Picket Fence pattern. An agreement of < 2% was achieved between the presented VSM and a published full MC model for heterogeneous phantoms. For complex clinical head and neck (HN) cases, the VSM-based MC simulation of DQA plans agreed with the film measurement with 98% of planar dose pixels passing on the 2%/2 mm gamma criteria. For patient treatment plans, results showed comparable dose-volume histograms (DVHs) for planning target volumes (PTVs) and organs at risk (OARs). Deviations observed in this study were consistent with literature. The VSM-based MC simulation approach can be feasibly built from the gold standard beam model of a tomotherapy unit. The accuracy of the VSM was validated against measurements in homogeneous media, as well as published full MC model in heterogeneous media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-85
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Monte carlo simulation
  • Radiation therapy
  • Tomotherapy
  • Virtual source modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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