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Report No. 138 - A dosimetric uncertainty analysis for photon-emitting brachytherapy sources: Report of AAPM Task Group No. 138 and GEC-ESTRO (2011)

Category: Reports

This report addresses uncertainties pertaining to brachytherapy single-source dosimetry preceding clinical use. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technical Note 1297 are taken as reference standards for uncertainty formalism. Uncertainties in using detectors to measure or utilizing Monte Carlo methods to estimate brachytherapy dose distributions are provided with discussion of the components intrinsic to the overall dosimetric assessment. Uncertainties provided are based on published observations and cited when available. The uncertainty propagation from the primary calibration standard through transfer to the clinic for air-kerma strength is covered first. Uncertainties in each of the brachytherapy dosimetry parameters of the TG-43 formalism are then explored, ending with transfer to the clinic and recommended approaches. Dosimetric uncertainties during treatment delivery are considered briefly but are not included in the detailed analysis. For low- and high-energy brachytherapy sources of low dose rate and high dose rate, a combined dosimetric uncertainty <5% (k =1) is estimated, which is consistent with prior literature estimates. Recommendations are provided for clinical medical physicists, do- simetry investigators, and source and treatment planning system manufacturers. These recommen- dations include the use of the GUM and NIST reports, a requirement of constancy of manufacturer source design, dosimetry investigator guidelines, provision of the lowest uncertainty for patient treatment dosimetry, and the establishment of an action level based on dosimetric uncertainty. These recommendations reflect the guidance of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the Groupe Européen de Curiethérapie–European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (GEC-ESTRO) for their members and may also be used as guidance to manufacturers and regulatory agencies in developing good manufacturing practices for sources used in routine clinical treatments.

Medical Physics, 38, 782-801 (2011)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.3533720
ISBN: 978-1-936366-04-0

Keywords: Brachytherapy, Dosimetry , Uncertainty, LDR, HDR
Low Energy Brachytherapy Source Dosimetry Work Group Task Group #138

Larry A. DeWerd, Geoffrey S. Ibbott, Ali S. Meigooni, Michael G. Mitch, Mark J. Rivard, Kurt E. Stump, Bruce R. Thomadsen, Jack L. M. Venselaar

Committee Responsible: Brachytherapy Subcommittee
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