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Research Article Open Access
High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy is an effective internal radiation therapy procedure for treating malignant neoplasms. This technique is widely used in breast cancer treatments to destroy residual cancer cells surrounding the lumpectomy cavity following surgery. This is done by inserting a balloon catheter into the cavity that is inflated with saline as well as a medium of radiographic contrast. Then the radioactive isotope is positioned into the center of the balloon using an HDR unit to deliver the prescribed dose to a volume surrounding the balloon. Most of the currently available treatment planning systems (TPS) for brachytherapy, including Nucletron Oncentra, estimate dose using proprietary algorithms which use a pre-calculated dose metric derived from Ir-192 placed in a water phantom. However, they do not take into account variations in attenuation due to inhomogeneities in different tissues. This may lead to several questions: do these TPS estimate absorbed dose correctly within the target tissue? What are the effects on breast-air interface within the target volume? Does a radiographic contrast medium in the balloon alter the dose distribution calculated by TPS? These uncertainties and doses can be quantified by using the data recorded in a tissueequivalent patient phantom which is aided by a PN junction commercial diode detector and an electrometer. During this investigation, we used a cubical water phantom and Mammosite® single lumen balloon system to measure effects on breast-air interface, the diode detector was placed on the phantom wall to simulate the tissue air interface. Measured data were compared with predictions from the Oncentra TPS for the same geometry. These results may help quantify uncertainties in the predicted versus actual skin doses used during the treatments. This in turn could increase the clinicians’ predictive power regarding potential excessive skin dose that could cause toxicity in patients.
Brachytherapy, Radiation therapy, Brachytherapy dosimetry, Radial dose function, Breast cancer, Brachytherapy, Radiation therapy, Brachytherapy dosimetry, Radial dose function, Breast cancer