Preclinical radiation biology has become increasingly sophisticated due to the implementation of advanced small animal image guided radiation platforms into laboratory investigation. These small animal radiotherapy devices enable state-of-the-art image guided therapy (IGRT) research to be performed by combining high-resolution cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging with an isocentric irradiation system. Such platforms are capable of replicating modern clinical systems similar to those that integrate a linear accelerator with on-board CBCT image guidance.
In this study, we present a dosimetric evaluation of the small animal radiotherapy research platform (SARRP, Xstrahl Inc.) focusing on small field dosimetry. Physical dosimetry was assessed using ion chamber for calibration and radiochromic film, investigating the impact of beam focus size on the dose rate output as well as beam characteristics (beam shape and penumbra). Two film analysis tools) have been used to assess the dose output using the 0.5 mm diameter aperture.
Good agreement (between 1.7–3%) was found between the measured physical doses and the data provided by Xstrahl for all apertures used. Furthermore, all small field dosimetry data are in good agreement for both film reading methods and with our Monte Carlo simulations for both focal spot sizes. Furthermore, the small focal spot has been shown to produce a more homogenous beam with more stable penumbra over time.
FilmQA Pro is a suitable tool for small field dosimetry, with a sufficiently small sampling area (0.1 mm) to ensure an accurate measurement. The electron beam focus should be chosen with care as this can potentially impact on beam stability and reproducibility.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.