Iodine-125 (125I) and Caesium-131 (131Cs) brachytherapy have been used in conjunction with sublobar resection to reduce the local recurrence of stage I non-small cell lung cancer compared with resection alone. Treatment planning for this procedure is typically performed using only a seed activity nomogram or look-up table to determine seed strand spacing for the implanted mesh. Since the post-implant seed geometry is difficult to predict, the nomogram is calculated using the TG-43 formalism for seeds in a planar geometry. In this work, the EGSnrc user-code BrachyDose is used to recalculate nomograms using a variety of tissue models for 125I and 131Cs seeds. Calculated prescription doses are compared to those calculated using TG-43. Additionally, patient CT and contour data are used to generate virtual implants to study the effects that post-implant deformation and patient-specific tissue heterogeneity have on perturbing nomogram-derived dose distributions. Differences of up to 25% in calculated prescription dose are found between TG-43 and Monte Carlo calculations with the TG-43 formalism underestimating prescription doses in general. Differences between the TG-43 formalism and Monte Carlo calculated prescription doses are greater for 125I than for 131Cs seeds. Dose distributions are found to change significantly based on implant deformation and tissues surrounding implants for patient-specific virtual implants. Results suggest that accounting for seed grid deformation and the effects of non-water media, at least approximately, are likely required to reliably predict dose distributions in lung brachytherapy patients.

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Journal Physics in Medicine and Biology
Sutherland, J.G.H., Furutani, K.M., & Thomson, R.M. (2013). A monte carlo investigation of lung brachytherapy treatment planning. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 58(14), 4763–4780. doi:10.1088/0031-9155/58/14/4763