Dosimetry of ionising radiation in modern radiation oncology

Tomas Kron, Joerg Lehmann, Peter B. Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Dosimetry of ionising radiation is a well-established and mature branch of physical sciences with many applications in medicine and biology. In particular radiotherapy relies on dosimetry for optimisation of cancer treatment and avoidance of severe toxicity for patients. Several novel developments in radiotherapy have introduced new challenges for dosimetry with small and dynamically changing radiation fields being central to many of these applications such as stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy. There is also an increasing awareness of low doses given to structures not in the target region and the associated risk of secondary cancer induction. Here accurate dosimetry is important not only for treatment optimisation but also for the generation of data that can inform radiation protection approaches in the future. The article introduces some of the challenges and highlights the interdependence of dosimetric calculations and measurements. Dosimetric concepts are explored in the context of six application fields: reference dosimetry, small fields, low dose out of field, in vivo dosimetry, brachytherapy and auditing of radiotherapy practice. Recent developments of dosimeters that can be used for these purposes are discussed using spatial resolution and number of dimensions for measurement as sorting criteria. While dosimetry is ever evolving to address the needs of advancing applications of radiation in medicine two fundamental issues remain: the accuracy of the measurement from a scientific perspective and the importance to link the measurement to a clinically relevant question. This review aims to provide an update on both of these.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R167-R205
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jun 28 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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