Comparison of dynamic and step-and-shoot intensity-modulated radiation therapy planning and delivery

Parham Alaei, Patrick D Higgins, Randi Weaver, Nina Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is commonly delivered using the dynamic or segmental mode of multileaf collimators (DMLC or SMLC). Both methods are designed to deliver intensity-modulated beams as determined by inverse planning software. In this study, we have used the Helios IMRT planning system to generate ideal treatment plans for 10 cases of 2 common treatment sites (prostate and head and neck) and have investigated the actual treatment fluence distributions generated for each of the MLC leaf motion choices. The 2 dose delivery techniques were dosimetrically compared to each other and to the treatment plans. For each technique, point doses were measured in a water phantom using ionization chambers. Also for each technique, 2-dimensional dose distributions at a selected depth in a plastic phantom were obtained, using extended range film. The total delivery time and the number of monitor units (MU) delivered by each method were also compared. Our results indicate that the 2 delivery methods produce comparable results dosimetrically. For the cases reviewed, the delivery time was an average of 15% longer for SMLC deliveries, while the number of MUs (beam-on time) required by SMLC was an average of 15% fewer, than that for the DMLC. In the interest of simplicity, lower beam-on time, and potentially fewer mechanically-related problems, we think that the SMLC delivery technique may be the better choice when Helios is used for planning and Varian linear accelerators are used for delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004


  • DMLC
  • IMRT
  • SMLC


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