γ+ index: A new evaluation parameter for quantitative quality assurance
A three-dimensional electron beam dose calculation algorithm implemented on a commercial radiotherapy treatment planning system is described. The calculation is based on the M. D. Anderson Hospital (M.D.A.H.) pencil beam model, which uses the Fermi-Eyges theory of thick-target multiple Coulomb scattering. To establish the calculation algorithm's accuracy as well as its limitations, it was systematically and extensively tested and evaluated against a set of benchmark measurements. Various levels of dose and spatial tolerances were used to validate the calculation quantitatively. Results are presented in terms of the percentage of data points meeting a specific tolerance level. The algorithm's ability to accurately simulate commonly used clinical setup geometries, including standard or extended SSDs, blocked fields, irregular surfaces, and heterogeneities, is demonstrated. Regions of disagreement between calculations and measurements are also shown. The clinical implication of such disagreements is addressed, and the algorithmic assumptions involved are discussed.