## Abstract

The dose from photon-induced nuclear particles (neutrons, protons, and alpha particles) generated by high-energy photon beams from medical linacs is investigated. Monte Carlo calculations using the MCNPX code are performed for three different photon beams from two different machines: Siemens 18 MV, Varian 15 MV, and Varian 18 MV. The linac head components are simulated in detail. The dose distributions from photons, neutrons, protons, and alpha particles are calculated in a tissue-equivalent phantom. Neutrons are generated in both the linac head and the phantom. This study includes (a) field size effects, (b) off-axis dose profiles, (c) neutron contribution from the linac head, (d) dose contribution from capture gamma rays, (e) phantom heterogeneity effects, and (f) effects of primary electron energy shift. Results are presented in terms of absolute dose distributions and also in terms of DER (dose equivalent ratio). The DER is the maximum dose from the particle (neutron, proton, or alpha) divided by the maximum photon dose, multiplied by the particle quality factor and the modulation scaling factor. The total DER including neutrons, protons, and alphas is about 0.66 cSv/Gy for the Siemens 18 MV beam (10 cm × 10 cm). The neutron DER decreases with decreasing field size while the proton (or alpha) DER does not vary significantly except for the 1 cm × 1 cm field. Both Varian beams (15 and 18 MV) produce more neutrons, protons, and alphas particles than the Siemens 18 MV beam. This is mainly due to their higher primary electron energies: 15 and 18.3 MeV, respectively, vs 14 MeV for the Siemens 18 MV beam. For all beams, neutrons contribute more than 75% of the total DER, except for the 1 cm × 1 cm field (∼50%). The total DER is 1.52 and 2.86 cSv/Gy for the 15 and 18 MV Varian beams (10 cm × 10 cm), respectively. Media with relatively high-Z elements like bone may increase the dose from heavy charged particles by a factor 4. The total DER is sensitive to primary electron energy shift. A Siemens 18 MV beam with 15 MeV (instead of 14 MeV) primary electrons would increase by 40% the neutron DER and by 210% the proton+ alpha DER. Comparisons with measurements (neutron yields from different materials and neutron dose equivalent) are also presented. Using the NCRP risk assessment method, we found that the dose equivalent from leakage neutrons (at 50-cm off-axis distance) represent 1.1, 1.1, and 2.0% likelihood of fatal secondary cancer for a 70 Gy treatment delivered by the Siemens 18 MV, Varian 15 MV, and Varian 18 MV beams, respectively.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 1990-2000 |

Number of pages | 11 |

Journal | Medical Physics |

Volume | 30 |

Issue number | 8 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Aug 1 2003 |

## Keywords

- Electrons
- Gamma Rays
- Humans
- Isotopes
- Monte Carlo Method
- Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced/etiology
- Neutrons
- Particle Accelerators
- Phantoms, Imaging
- Photons
- Radiometry/methods
- Radiotherapy Dosage
- Radiotherapy, High-Energy/instrumentation