Background and purpose: High energy (20-50 MeV) electron beams, available from the MM50 Racetrack Microtron, can be used for the treatment of deep-seated tumors. A disadvantage is the increasing penumbra width as a function of depth. By the addition of a narrow (typically 1 cm wide) photon beam near the field edge, the 50-90% penumbra width of the electron beam is reduced, yielding a significantly increased effective field size. Materials and methods: For rectangular electron beams in a water phantom (energies 25 and 40 MeV, field sizes 5 x 5-15 x 15 cm2) a computer program was used to optimize the photon beam parameters (position, weight and width) to obtain a combined beam with the sharpest penumbra at the optimization depth and a beam flatness within certain constraints. The study furthermore included penumbra sharpening of an irregular multileaf collimator-shaped field. Results and conclusion: At optimization depths near R90, photon beam addition reduces the penumbra width by 40-50% (from 15-20 mm to 8-10 mm). Beam flatness at the optimization depth is within ±5% and hot-spots are ≤120% for all depths. By the addition of narrow photon beams around the rectangular or irregular field, the electron field width can be reduced by 1-3 cm, while the effective field size is maintained.

Conformal therapy, High energy electrons, Radiotherapy,
Radiotherapy & Oncology
Department of Radiation Oncology

Korevaar, E.W, van Vliet, R, Woudstra, E, Heijmen, B.J.M, & Huizenga, N.A.T.M. (1998). Sharpening the penumbra of high energy electron beams with low weight narrow photon beams. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 48(2), 213–220. doi:10.1016/S0167-8140(98)00030-9