Assessment of range uncertainty in lung-like tissue using a porcine lung phantom and proton radiography

Arturs Meijers*, Carmen Seller Oria, Jeffrey Free, David Bondesson, Moritz Rabe, Katia Parodi, Guillaume Landry, Johannes A Langendijk, Stefan Both, Christopher Kurz, Antje-Christin Knopf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Thoracic tumours are increasingly considered indications for pencil beam scanned proton therapy (PBS-PT) treatments. Conservative robustness settings have been suggested due to potential range straggling effects caused by the lung micro-structure. Using proton radiography (PR) and a 4D porcine lung phantom, we experimentally assess range errors to be considered in robust treatment planning for thoracic indications. A human-chest-size 4D phantom hosting inflatable porcine lungs and corresponding 4D computed tomography (4DCT) were used. Five PR frames were planned to intersect the phantom at various positions. Integral depth-dose curves (IDDs) per proton spot were measured using a multi-layer ionisation chamber (MLIC). Each PR frame consisted of 81 spots with an assigned energy of 210 MeV (full width at half maximum (FWHM) 8.2 mm). Each frame was delivered five times while simultaneously acquiring the breathing signal of the 4D phantom, using an ANZAI load cell. The synchronised ANZAI and delivery log file information was used to retrospectively sort spots into their corresponding breathing phase. Based on this information, IDDs were simulated by the treatment planning system (TPS) Monte Carlo dose engine on a dose grid of 1 mm. In addition to the time-resolved TPS calculations on the 4DCT phases, IDDs were calculated on the average CT. Measured IDDs were compared with simulated ones, calculating the range error for each individual spot. In total, 2025 proton spots were individually measured and analysed. The range error of a specific spot is reported relative to its water equivalent path length (WEPL). The mean relative range error was 1.2% (1.5 SD 2.3 %) for the comparison with the time-resolved TPS calculations, and 1.0% (1.5 SD 2.2 %) when comparing to TPS calculations on the average CT. The determined mean relative range errors justify the use of 3% range uncertainty for robust treatment planning in a clinical setting for thoracic indications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155014
Number of pages9
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number15
Early online date11-May-2020
Publication statusPublished - 7-Aug-2020


  • proton radiography
  • range uncertainty
  • lung-like tissue
  • CT

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