Results of a 10-year survey of workload for 10 treatment vaults at a high-throughput comprehensive cancer center

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Abstract

The workload for shielding purposes of modern linear accelerators (linacs) consists of primary and scatter radiation which depends on the dose delivered to isocenter (cGy) and leakage radiation which depends on the monitor units (MUs). In this study, we report on the workload for 10 treatment vaults in terms of dose to isocenter (cGy), monitor units delivered (MUs), number of treatment sessions (Txs), as well as, use factors (U) and modulation factors (CI) for different treatment techniques. The survey was performed for the years between 2006 and 2015 and included 16 treatment machines which represent different generations of Varian linear accelerators (6EX, 600C, 2100C, 2100EX, and TrueBeam) operating at different electron and x-ray energies (6, 9, 12, 16 and 20 MeV electrons and, 6 and 15 MV x-rays). An institutional review board (IRB) approval was acquired to perform this study. Data regarding patient workload, dose to isocenter, number of monitor units delivered, beam energies, gantry angles, and treatment techniques were exported from an ARIA treatment management system (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, Ca.) into Excel spreadsheets and data analysis was performed in Matlab. The average (± std-dev) number of treatment sessions, dose to isocenter, and number of monitor units delivered per week per machine in 2006 was 119 ± 39 Txs, (300 ± 116) × 102 cGys, and (78 ± 28) × 103 MUs respectively. In contrast, the workload in 2015 was 112 ± 40 Txs, (337 ± 124) × 102 cGys, and (111 ± 46) × 103 MUs. 60% of the workload (cGy) was delivered using 6 MV and 30% using 15 MV while the remaining 10% was delivered using electron beams. The modulation factors (MU/cGy) for IMRT and VMAT were 5.0 (± 3.4) and 4.6 (± 1.6) respectively. Use factors using 90° gantry angle intervals were equally distributed (˜0.25) but varied considerably among different treatment techniques. The workload, in terms of dose to isocenter (cGy) and subsequently monitor units (MUs), has been steadily increasing over the past decade. This increase can be attributed to increased use of high dose hypo-fractionated regimens (SBRT, SRS) and the increase in use of IMRT and VMAT, which require higher MUs per cGy as compared to more conventional treatment (3DCRT). Meanwhile, the patient workload in terms of treatment sessions per week remained relatively constant. The findings of this report show that variables used for shielding purposes still fall within the recommendation of NCRP Report 151.

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