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Common Errors and Deficiencies in Radiation Oncology Practice

S Kry

S Kry*, L Dromgoole , P Alvarez , J Lowenstein , A Molineu , P Taylor , D Followill , UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


WE-G-BRA-4 (Wednesday, July 15, 2015) 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Ballroom A

Purpose: Dosimetric errors in radiotherapy dose delivery lead to suboptimal treatments and outcomes. This work reviews the frequency and severity of dosimetric and programmatic errors identified by on-site audits performed by the IROC Houston QA center.

Methods: IROC Houston on-site audits evaluate absolute beam calibration, relative dosimetry data compared to the treatment planning system data, and processes such as machine QA. Audits conducted from 2000-present were abstracted for recommendations, including type of recommendation and magnitude of error when applicable. Dosimetric recommendations corresponded to absolute dose errors >3% and relative dosimetry errors >2%. On-site audits of 1020 accelerators at 409 institutions were reviewed.

Results: A total of 1280 recommendations were made (average 3.1/institution). The most common recommendation was for inadequate QA procedures per TG-40 and/or TG-142 (82% of institutions) with the most commonly noted deficiency being x-ray and electron off-axis constancy versus gantry angle. Dosimetrically, the most common errors in relative dosimetry were in small-field output factors (59% of institutions), wedge factors (33% of institutions), off-axis factors (21% of institutions), and photon PDD (18% of institutions). Errors in calibration were also problematic: 20% of institutions had an error in electron beam calibration, 8% had an error in photon beam calibration, and 7% had an error in brachytherapy source calibration. Almost all types of data reviewed included errors up to 7% although 20 institutions had errors in excess of 10%, and 5 had errors in excess of 20%. The frequency of electron calibration errors decreased significantly with time, but all other errors show non-significant changes.

Conclusion: There are many common and often serious errors made during the establishment and maintenance of a radiotherapy program that can be identified through independent peer review. Physicists should be cautious, particularly in areas highlighted herein that show a tendency for errors.

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