Technical note: Evaluation and second check of a commercial Monte Carlo dose engine for small-field apertures in pencil beam scanning proton therapy

Jason Holmes, Jiajian Shen, Jie Shan, Christopher L. Patrick, William W. Wong, Robert L. Foote, Samir H. Patel, Martin Bues, Wei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the accuracy of the RayStation Monte Carlo dose engine (RayStation MC) in modeling small-field block apertures in proton pencil beam scanning. Furthermore, we evaluate the suitability of MCsquare as a second check for RayStation MC. Methods: We have enhanced MCsquare to model block apertures. To test the accuracy of both RayStation MC and the newly enhanced MCsquare, we compare the dose predictions of each to in-water dose measurements obtained using diode detectors and radiochromic film. Nine brass apertures with openings of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 cm and either 2 cm or 4 cm thickness were used in the irradiation of a water phantom. Two measurement setups were used, one with a range shifter and 119.7 MeV proton beam energy and the other with no range shifter and 147 MeV proton beam energy. To further test the validity of RayStation MC and MCsquare in modeling block apertures and to evaluate MCsquare as a second check tool, 10 small-field (average target volume 8.3 cm3) patient treatment plans were calculated by each dose engine followed by a statistical comparison. Results: Comparing to the absolute dose measurements in water, RayStation MC differed by 1.2% ± 1.0% while MCsquare differed by −1.8% ± 3.7% in the plateau region of a pristine Bragg peak. Compared to the in-water film measurements, RayStation MC and MCsquare both performed well with an average 2D-3D gamma passing rate of 99.4% and 99.7% (3%/3 mm), respectively. A t-test comparing the agreement with the film measurements between RayStation MC and MCsquare suggested that the relative spatial dose distributions calculated by MCsquare and RayStation MC were statistically indistinguishable. Directly comparing the dose calculations between MCsquare and RayStation MC over 10 patients resulted in an average 3D-3D gamma passing rates of 98.5% (3%/3 mm) and 94.1% (2%/2 mm), respectively. Conclusion: The validity of RayStation MC algorithm for use with patient-specific apertures has been expanded to include small apertures. MCsquare has been enhanced to model apertures and was found to be an adequate second check of RayStation MC in this scenario.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3497-3506
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Monte-Carlo
  • patient-specific apertures
  • pencil beam scanning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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