PURPOSE: Current quality assurance regulation stresses the basic role of in vivo dosimetry. Our study evaluates the usefulness and reliability of semiconductor diodes in determining the electron absorbed dose. MATERIAL AND METHODS: P-type EDE semiconductor detectors were irradiated with electron beams of different energies produced by a CGR Saturn Therac 20. The diode and ionization chamber response were compared, and effect of energy value, collimator opening, source skin distance and gantry angle on diode response was studied. RESULTS: Measurements show a maximum increment of about 20% in diode response increasing the beam energy (6-20 MeV). The response also increases with: collimator opening, reaching 5% with field sizes larger than 10x10 cm2 (with the exception of 20 MeV energy); SSD increase (with a maximum of 8% for 20 MeV); transversal gantry incidence, compared with the diode longitudinal axis; it does not affect the response in the interval of +/- 45 degrees. Absorbed dose attenuation at dmax, due to the presence of diode on the axis of the beam as a function of electron energy was also determined : the maximum attenuation value is 15% in 6 MeV electron beams. A dose calculation algorithm, taking into account diode response dependence was outlined. In vivo dosimetry was performed in 92 fields for 80 patients, with an agreement of +/-4 % (1 SD) between prescribed and measured dose. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: It is possible to use the EDE semiconductor detectors on a quality control program of dose delivery for electron beam therapy, but particular attention should be paid to the beam incidence angle and diode dose attenuation.
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