Patient-specific quality assurance and plan dose errors on breast intensity-modulated proton therapy

Chunbo Liu, Dandan Zheng, Julie A. Bradley, Raymond B.Mailhot Vega, Zuofeng Li, Nancy P. Mendenhall, Xiaoying Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate, in proton therapy, whether the Gamma passing rate (GPR) is related to the patient dose error and whether MU scaling can improve dose accuracy. Methods: Among 20 consecutively treated breast patients selected for analysis, two IMPT plans were retrospectively generated: (1) the pencil-beam (PB) plan and (2) the Monte Carlo (MC) plan. Patient-specific QA was performed. A 3%/3-mm Gamma analysis was conducted to compare the TPS-calculated PB algorithm dose distribution with the measured 2D dose. Dose errors were compared between the plans that passed the Gamma testing and those that failed. The MU was then scaled to obtain a better GPR. MU-scaled PB plan dose errors were compared to the original PB plan. Results: Of the 20 PB plans, 8 were passed Gamma testing (G_pass_group) and 12 failed (G_fail_group). Surprisingly, the G_pass_group had a greater dose error than the G_fail_group. The median (range) of the PTV DVH RMSE and PTV ΔDmean were 1.36 (1.00–1.91) Gy vs 1.18 (1.02–1.80) Gy and 1.23 (0.92–1.71) Gy vs 1.10 (0.87–1.49) Gy for the G_pass_group and the G_fail_group, respectively. MU scaling reduced overall dose error. However, for PTV D99 and D95, MU scaling worsened some cases. Conclusion: For breast IMPT, the PB plans that passed the Gamma testing did not show smaller dose errors compared to the plans that failed. For individual plans, the MU scaling technique leads to overall smaller dose errors. However, we do not suggest use of the MU scaling technique to replace the MC plans when the MC algorithm is available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalPhysica Medica
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Breast cancer
  • Intensity-modulated proton therapy
  • Patient-specific QA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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