A novel time dependent gamma evaluation function for dynamic 2D and 3D dose distributions

Mark Podesta*, Lucas C. G. G. Persoon, Frank Verhaegen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Modern external beam radiotherapy requires detailed verification and quality assurance so that confidence can be placed on both the delivery of a single treatment fraction and on the consistency of delivery throughout the treatment course. To verify dose distributions, a comparison between prediction and measurement must be made. Comparisons between two dose distributions are commonly performed using a Gamma evaluation which is a calculation of two quantities on a pixel by pixel basis; the dose difference, and the distance to agreement. By providing acceptance criteria (e.g. 3%, 3 mm), the function will find the most appropriate match within its two degrees of freedom. For complex dynamic treatments such as IMRT or VMAT it is important to verify the dose delivery in a time dependent manner and so a gamma evaluation that includes a degree of freedom in the time domain via a third parameter, time to agreement, is presented here. A C++ (mex) based gamma function was created that could be run on either CPU and GPU computing platforms that would allow a degree of freedom in the time domain. Simple test cases were created in both 2D and 3D comprising of simple geometrical shapes with well-defined boundaries varying over time. Changes of varying magnitude in either space or time were introduced and repeated gamma analyses were performed varying the criteria. A clinical VMAT case was also included, artificial air bubbles of varying size were introduced to a patient geometry, along with shifts of varying magnitude in treatment time. For all test cases where errors in distance, dose or time were introduced, the time dependent gamma evaluation could accurately highlight the errors. The time dependent gamma function presented here allows time to be included as a degree of freedom in gamma evaluations. The function allows for 2D and 3D data sets which are varying over time to be compared using appropriate criteria without penalising minor offsets of subsequent radiation fields in time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5973-5985
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2014


  • gamma
  • time
  • VMAT
  • QA
  • dosimetry
  • dynamic

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