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The Effect of Particle Tracking Step Size Limit On Monte Carlo-Computed LET Spectrum of Therapeutic Proton Beams

F Guan

F Guan*, L Bronk , M Kerr , U Titt , R Taleei , D Mirkovic , X Zhu , D Grosshans , R Mohan , UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


TH-A-19A-7 Thursday 7:30AM - 9:30AM Room: 19A

To investigate the effect of charged particle tracking step size limit in the determination of the LET spectrum of therapeutic proton beams using Monte Carlo simulations.

The LET spectra at different depths in a water phantom from a 79.7 MeV spot-scanning proton beam were calculated using Geant4. Five different tracking step limits 0.5 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.05 mm, 0.01 mm and 1 μm were adopted. The field size was set to 10x10 cm² on the isocenter plane. A 40x40x6 cm³ water phantom was modelled as the irradiation target. The voxel size was set to 1x1x0.5 mm³ to obtain high resolution results. The LET spectra were scored ranging from 0.01 keV/μm to 10⁴keV/μm in the logarithm scale. In addition, the proton energy spectra at different depths were also scored.

The LET spectra calculated using different step size limits were compared at four depths along the Bragg curve. At any depths, the spread of the LET spectra increases with the decrease of step size limit. In the dose buildup region (z = 1.9 cm) and in the region proximal to the Bragg peak (z = 3.95 cm), the frequency mean LET does not vary with decreasing step size limit. At Bragg peak (z = 4.75 cm) and in the distal edge (z = 4.85 cm), frequency mean LET decreases with decreasing step size limit. The energy spectrum at any specified depths does not vary with the step size limit.

The calculated LET has a spectral distribution rather than a single value at any depths along the Bragg curve and the spread of the computed spectrum depends on the tracking step limit. Incorporating the LET spectrum distribution into the robust IMPT optimization plan may provide more accurate biological dose distribution than using the dose- or fluence-averaged LET.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: NIH Program Project Grant P01CA021239

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