Dedicated precision orthovoltage small animal irradiators have become widely available in the past decade and are commonly used for radiation biology research. However, there is a lack of dosimetric standardization among these irradiators, which affects the reproducibility of radiation-based animal studies. The purpose of this study was to develop a mail-based, independent peer review system to verify dose delivery among institutions using X-RAD 225Cx irradiators (Precision X-Ray, North Branford, CT). A robust, user-friendly mouse phantom was constructed from high-impact polystyrene and designed with dimensions similar to those of a typical laboratory mouse. The phantom accommodates three thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) to measure dose. The mouse peer review system was commissioned in a small animal irradiator using anterior-posterior and posterior-anterior beams of 225 kVp and then mailed to three institutions to test the feasibility of the audit service. The energy correction factor for TLDs in the mouse phantom was derived to validate the delivered dose using this particular animal irradiation system. This feasibility study indicated that three institutions were able to deliver a radiation dose to the mouse phantom within ±10% of the target dose. The developed mail audit independent peer review system for the verification of mouse dosimetry can be expanded to characterize other commercially available orthovoltage irradiators, thereby enhancing the reproducibility of studies employing these irradiators.

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