Trust, but verify-Accuracy of clinical commercial radiation Treatment Planning Systems

J. Lehmann, J. Kenny, J. Lye, L. Dunn, I. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Computer based Treatment Planning Systems (TPS) are used worldwide to design and calculate treatment plans for treating radiation therapy patients. TPS are generally well designed and thoroughly tested by their developers and local physicists prior to clinical use. However, the wide-reaching impact of their accuracy warrants ongoing vigilance. This work reviews the findings of the Australian national audit system and provides recommendations for checks of TPS. The Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service (ACDS) has designed and implemented a national system of audits, currently in a three year test phase. The Level III audits verify the accuracy of a beam model of a facility's TPS through a comparison of measurements with calculation at selected points in an anthropomorphic phantom. The plans are prescribed by the ACDS and all measurement equipment is brought in for independent onsite measurements. In this first version of audits, plans are comparatively simple, involving asymmetric fields, wedges and inhomogeneities. The ACDS has performed 14 Level III audits to-date. Six audits returned at least one measurement at Action Level, indicating that the measured dose differed more than 3.3% (but less than 5%) from the planned dose. Two audits failed (difference >5%). One fail was caused by a data transmission error coupled with quality assurance (QA) not being performed. The second fail was investigated and reduced to Action Level with the onsite audit team finding phantom setup at treatment a contributing factor. The Action Level results are attributed to small dose calculation deviations within the TPS, which are investigated and corrected by the facilities. Small deviations exist in clinical TPS which can add up and can combine with output variations to result in unacceptable variations. Ongoing checks and independent audits are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012094
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Trust, but verify-Accuracy of clinical commercial radiation Treatment Planning Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this