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Shift in absorbed dose for megavoltage photons when changing to TRS-398 in Australia


Australian primary standards of air kerma and absorbed dose are realized in60Co gamma rays. To calibrate the megavoltage photon beams from linear accelerators, radiotherapy centres have their ionization chamber calibrated in a60Co beam and then use a protocol to transfer this calibration to the higher energy. The radiotherapy community is in the process of changing from the ACPSEM Protocol (Second Edition 1998) based on an air kerma calibration to the IAEA’s TRS-398 Code of Practice, based on an absorbed dose to water calibration. To evaluate the shift in absorbed dose resulting from the new protocol, the absorbed dose should be determined using both protocols and compared. We present a formula for this shift which can be used to check the result. To use this formula the centre needs to measure a displacement correction and know the ratio of the air kerma to absorbed dose to water calibration factors at60Co. We calculate the change they should expect by using the average ratio of the air kerma and absorbed dose to water calibration factors for NE2571 and NE2561 chambers, based on Australian standards, and by estimating the displacement correction from published depth dose data. We find the absorbed dose in a megavoltage photon beam to increase by between 0.1 and 0.6% for NE2571 chambers and between 0.7 and 1.1% for NE2561 chambers, for beams up to 35 MV. The dose measured using TRS-398 is always higher.

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Correspondence to D. J. Butler.

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Butler, D.J., Palmans, H. & Webb, D.V. Shift in absorbed dose for megavoltage photons when changing to TRS-398 in Australia. Australas. Phys. Eng. Sci. Med. 28, 159 (2005).

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Key words

  • radiotherapy
  • dosimetry
  • absorbed dose
  • protocol
  • TRS-398