Advanced design, simulation, and dosimetry of a novel rectal applicator for contact brachytherapy with a conventional HDR 192Ir source

Murillo Bellezzo, Gabriel P. Fonseca, Robert Voncken, An-Sofie Verrijssen, Celine Van Beveren, Erik Roelofs, Helio Yoriyaz, Brigitte Reniers, Evert J. Van Limbergen, Maaike Berbee, Frank Verhaegen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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PURPOSE: Dose escalation yields higher complete response to rectal tumors, which may enable the omission of surgery. Dose escalation using 50 kVp contact x-ray brachytherapy (CXB) allow the treatment of a selective volume, resulting in low toxicity and organs-at-risk preservation. However, the use of CXB devices is limited because of its high cost and lack of treatment planning tools. Hence, the MAASTRO applicator (for HDR Ir-192 sources) was developed and characterized by measurements and Monte Carlo simulations to be a cost-effective alternative to CXB devices.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A cylindrical applicator with lateral shielding was designed to be used with a rectoscope using its tip as treatment surface. Both the applicator and the rectoscope have a slanted edge to potentially allow easier placement against tumors. The applicator design was achieved by Monte Carlo modeling and validated experimentally with film dosimetry, using the Papillon 50 (P50) device as reference.

RESULTS: The applicator delivers CXB doses in less than 9 min using a 20375 U source for a treatment area of approximately 20 x 20 mm(2) at 2 mm depth. Normalized at 2 mm, the dose falloff for depths of 0 mm, 5 mm, and 10 mm are 130%, 70%, and 43% for the P50 and 140%, 67%, and 38% for the MAASTRO applicator, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The MAASTRO applicator was designed to use HDR Ir-192 sources to deliver a dose distribution similar to those of CXB devices. The applicator may provide a cost-effective solution for endoluminal boosting with clinical treatment planning system integration. (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Brachytherapy Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-553
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Brachytherapy
  • Monte Carlo
  • Contact radiotherapy
  • Rectal applicator
  • AAPM


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