Automatic commissioning of a GPU-based Monte Carlo radiation dose calculation code for photon radiotherapy

Zhen Tian, Yan Jiang Graves, Xun Jia, Steve B. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Monte Carlo (MC) simulation is commonly considered as the most accurate method for radiation dose calculations. Commissioning of a beam model in the MC code against a clinical linear accelerator beam is of crucial importance for its clinical implementation. In this paper, we propose an automatic commissioning method for our GPU-based MC dose engine, gDPM. gDPM utilizes a beam model based on a concept of phase-space-let (PSL). A PSL contains a group of particles that are of the same type and close in space and energy. A set of generic PSLs was generated by splitting a reference phase-space file. Each PSL was associated with a weighting factor, and in dose calculations the particle carried a weight corresponding to the PSL where it was from. Dose for each PSL in water was pre-computed, and hence the dose in water for a whole beam under a given set of PSL weighting factors was the weighted sum of the PSL doses. At the commissioning stage, an optimization problem was solved to adjust the PSL weights in order to minimize the difference between the calculated dose and measured one. Symmetry and smoothness regularizations were utilized to uniquely determine the solution. An augmented Lagrangian method was employed to solve the optimization problem. To validate our method, a phase-space file of a Varian TrueBeam 6 MV beam was used to generate the PSLs for 6 MV beams. In a simulation study, we commissioned a Siemens 6 MV beam on which a set of field-dependent phase-space files was available. The dose data of this desired beam for different open fields and a small off-axis open field were obtained by calculating doses using these phase-space files. The 3D γ-index test passing rate within the regions with dose above 10% of dmax dose for those open fields tested was improved averagely from 70.56 to 99.36% for 2%/2 mm criteria and from 32.22 to 89.65% for 1%/1 mm criteria. We also tested our commissioning method on a six-field head-and-neck cancer IMRT plan. The passing rate of the γ-index test within the 10% isodose line of the prescription dose was improved from 92.73 to 99.70% and from 82.16 to 96.73% for 2%/2 mm and 1%/1 mm criteria, respectively. Real clinical data measured from Varian, Siemens, and Elekta linear accelerators were also used to validate our commissioning method and a similar level of accuracy was achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6467
Pages (from-to)6467-6486
Number of pages20
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 7 2014


  • GPU
  • Monte Carlo
  • dose calculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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