To evaluate the feasibility of the three-dimensional (3D) printed small animal phantoms in dosimetric verification of proton therapy for small animal radiation research.
Two different phantoms were modeled using the computed-tomography dataset of real rat and tumor-bearing mouse, retrospectively. Rat phantoms were designed to accommodate both EBT3 film and ionization chamber. A subcutaneous tumor-bearing mouse phantom was only modified to accommodate film dosimetry. All phantoms were printed using polylactic-acid (PLA) filament. Optimal printing parameters were set to create tissue-equivalent material. Then, proton therapy plans for different anatomical targets, including whole brain and total lung irradiation in the rat phantom and the subcutaneous tumor model in the mouse phantom, were created using the pencil-beam scanning technique. Point dose and film dosimetry measurements were performed using 3D-printed phantoms. In addition, all phantoms were analyzed in terms of printing accuracy and uniformity.
Three-dimensionally printed phantoms had excellent uniformity over the external body, and printing accuracy was within 0.5 mm. According to our findings, two-dimensional dosimetry with EBT3 showed acceptable levels of γ passing rate for all measurements except for whole brain irradiation (γ passing rate, 89.8%). In terms of point dose analysis, a good agreement (<0.1%) was found between the measured and calculated point doses for all anatomical targets.
Three-dimensionally printed small animal phantoms show great potential for dosimetric verifications of clinical proton therapy for small animal radiation research.