Clinical commissioning and use of the Novalis Tx linear accelerator for SRS and SBRT

Jinkoo Kim, Ning Wen, Jian Yue Jin, Nicole Walls, Sangroh Kim, Haisen Li, Lei Ren, Yimei Huang, Anthony Doemer, Kathleen Faber, Tina Kunkel, Ahssan Balawi, Kimberly Garbarino, Kenneth Levin, Samir Patel, Munther Ajlouni, Brett Miller, Teamor Nurushev, Calvin Huntzinger, Raymond SchulzIndrin J. Chetty, Benjamin Movsas, Samuel Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to perform comprehensive measurements and testing of a Novalis Tx linear accelerator, and to develop technical guidelines for commissioning from the time of acceptance testing to the first clinical treatment. The Novalis Tx (NTX) linear accelerator is equipped with, among other features, a high-definition MLC (HD120 MLC) with 2.5 mm central leaves, a 6D robotic couch, an optical guidance positioning system, as well as X-ray-based image guidance tools to provide high accuracy radiation delivery for stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiation therapy procedures. We have performed extensive tests for each of the components, and analyzed the clinical data collected in our clinic. We present technical guidelines in this report focusing on methods for: (1) efficient and accurate beam data collection for commissioning treatment planning systems, including small field output measurements conducted using a wide range of detectors; (2) commissioning tests for the HD120 MLC; (3) data collection for the baseline characteristics of the on-board imager (OBI) and ExacTrac X-ray (ETX) image guidance systems in conjunction with the 6D robotic couch; and (4) end-to-end testing of the entire clinical process. Established from our clinical experience thus far, recommendations are provided for accurate and efficient use of the OBI and ETX localization systems for intra- and extracranial treatment sites. Four results are presented. (1) Basic beam data measurements: Our measurements confirmed the necessity of using small detectors for small fields. Total scatter factors varied significantly (30% to approximately 62%) for small field measurements among detectors. Unshielded stereotactic field diode (SFD) overestimated dose by ~ 2% for large field sizes. Ion chambers with active diameters of 6 mm suffered from significant volume averaging. The sharpest profile penumbra was observed for the SFD because of its small active diameter (0.6 mm). (2) MLC commissioning: Winston Lutz test, light/radiation field congruence, and Picket Fence tests were performed and were within criteria established by the relevant task group reports. The measured mean MLC transmission and dynamic leaf gap of 6 MV SRS beam were 1.17% and 0.36 mm, respectively. (3) Baseline characteristics of OBI and ETX: The isocenter localization errors in the left/right, posterior/anterior, and superior/inferior directions were, respectively, -0.2 ± 0.2 mm, -0.8 ± 0.2 mm, and -0.8 ± 0.4 mm for ETX, and 0.5 ± 0.7 mm, 0.6 ± 0.5 mm, and 0.0 ± 0.5 mm for OBI cone-beam computed tomography. The registration angular discrepancy was 0.1 ± 0.2°, and the maximum robotic couch error was 0.2°. (4) End-to-end tests: The measured isocenter dose differences from the planned values were 0.8% and 0.4%, measured respectively by an ion chamber and film. The gamma pass rate, measured by EBT2 film, was 95% (3% DD and 1 mm DTA). Through a systematic series of quantitative commissioning experiments and end-to-end tests and our initial clinical experience, described in this report, we demonstrate that the NTX is a robust system, with the image guidance and MLC requirements to treat a wide variety of sites - in particular for highly accurate delivery of SRS and SBRT-based treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-151
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • Commissioning
  • Novalis tx
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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