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Title: Evaluation of the use of surrogate tissues for calculating radiation dose to lymphatic nodes from external photon beams.
Authors: Lamart S,  Moroz BE,  Lee C
Journal: Radiat Prot Dosimetry
Date: 2013 Dec
Branches: REB
PubMed ID: 23847324
PMC ID: PMC3853652
Abstract: Lymphatic node chains of the human body are particularly difficult to realistically model in computational human phantoms. In the absence of a lymphatic node model, researchers have used the following surrogate tissues to calculate the radiation dose to the lymphatic nodes: blood vessels, muscle and the combination of the muscle and adipose tissues. In the present work, the authors investigated whether and in which extent the use of different surrogate tissues is appropriate to assess the lymph node dose, using a realistic model of lymphatic nodes that the authors recently reported. Using a Monte Carlo radiation transport method coupled with the adult male hybrid phantom that included the lymph node model, the air kerma-to-absorbed dose conversion coefficients (Gy Gy(-1)) to the lymph nodes and other tissues used as surrogates for external photon beams of 15 discrete energies (0.015-10 MeV) were computed using the following six idealised geometries: anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), right lateral, left lateral, rotational and isotropic. To validate the results of this study, the lymph node dose calculated here was compared with the dose published by the International Commission on Radiological Protection for the adult male reference phantom. The lymph node dose conversion coefficients with the values calculated for the blood vessels, muscle, adipose tissue and the combination of muscle and adipose tissues were then compared. It was found that muscle was the best estimator for the lymph nodes, with a dose difference averaged across energies >0.08 MeV of <8 % in all irradiation geometries excluding the AP and PA geometries for which the blood vessels were found to be the best estimator. In conclusion, muscle and blood vessels may preferably be used as surrogate tissues in the absence of lymphatic nodes in a given voxel phantom. For energies <0.08 MeV, for which the authors observed a difference of up to 30-fold, an explicit lymph node model may be required to prevent increasing differences with the lymph node dose as the photon energy decreases, though the absolute values of the dose conversion coefficients are smaller than at higher energy.