PURPOSE - To develop and implement a practical repainting method for efficient interplay effect mitigation in proton pencil beam scanning (PBS).
METHODS AND MATERIALS - A new flexible repainting scheme with spot-adapted numbers of repainting evenly spread out over the whole breathing cycle (assumed to be 4 seconds) was developed. Twelve fields from 5 thoracic and upper abdominal PBS plans were delivered 3 times using the new repainting scheme to an ion chamber array on a motion stage. One time was static and 2 used 4-second, 3-cm peak-to-peak sinusoidal motion with delivery started at maximum inhalation and maximum exhalation. For comparison, all dose measurements were repeated with no repainting and with 8 repaintings. For each motion experiment, the 3%/3-mm gamma pass rate was calculated using the motion-convolved static dose as the reference. Simulations were first validated with the experiments and then used to extend the study to 0- to 5-cm motion magnitude, 2- to 6-second motion periods, patient-measured liver tumor motion, and 1- to 6-fraction treatments. The effect of the proposed method was evaluated for the 5 clinical cases using 4-dimensional (4D) dose reconstruction in the planning 4D computed tomography scan. The target homogeneity index, HI = (D - D)/D, of a single-fraction delivery is reported, where D and D is the dose delivered to 2% and 98% of the target, respectively, and D is the mean dose.
RESULTS - The gamma pass rates were 59.6% ± 9.7% with no repainting, 76.5% ± 10.8% with 8 repaintings, and 92.4% ± 3.8% with the new repainting scheme. Simulations reproduced the experimental gamma pass rates with a 1.3% root-mean-square error and demonstrated largely improved gamma pass rates with the new repainting scheme for all investigated motion scenarios. One- and two-fraction deliveries with the new repainting scheme had gamma pass rates similar to those of 3-4 and 6-fraction deliveries with 8 repaintings. The mean HI for the 5 clinical cases was 14.2% with no repainting, 13.7% with 8 repaintings, 12.0% with the new repainting scheme, and 11.6% for the 4D dose without interplay effects.
CONCLUSIONS - A novel repainting strategy for efficient interplay effect mitigation was proposed, implemented, and shown to outperform conventional repainting in experiments, simulations, and dose reconstructions. This strategy could allow for safe and more optimal clinical delivery of thoracic and abdominal proton PBS and better facilitate hypofractionated and stereotactic treatments.
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