Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 149 / Number 1 / January 2005 / Pages 101-106
Radiation dose distributions of brachytherapy sources are generally characterized with the assumption that all internal components are equally radioactive. Autoradiographs and discussions with source manufacturers indicated this assumption of the radionuclide physical distribution may be invalid. Consequently, clinical dose distributions would be in error when not accounting for these internal variations. Many implants use brachytherapy sources with four 125I resin beads and two radiopaque markers used for imaging. Monte Carlo methods were used to determine dose contributions from each of the resin beads. These contributions were compared with those from an idealized source having a uniform physical distribution. Upon varying the 125I physical distribution while retaining the same overall radioactivity, the dose distribution along the transverse plane remained constant within 5% for r > 0.5 cm. For r 0.5 cm, relative positioning of the resin beads dominated the shielding effects, and dose distributions varied up to a factor of 3 at r = 0.05 cm. For points off the transverse plane, comparisons of the uniform and nonuniform dose distributions produced larger variations. Shielding effects within the capsule were virtually constant along the source long axis and demonstrated that anisotropy variations among the four resin beads were dependent on internal component positioning.