Co-ordinator:  George Panayiotakis

Lecturers: Nikos Kollaros, Zeta Malatara, Lia Mihalopoulou, George Panayiotakis, Spyros Papatheodorou, George Patatoukas, Pola Platoni, Despoina Spyropoulou

Aim and Objectives:

The aim of this course is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the principles and rules of physics that represent the basis for radiation therapy by utilizing ionizing radiation. The course is primarily aimed to provide knowledge regarding the basic physics of interaction of high energy photon, electron and heavy particle beams with matter used in clinical radiation oncology. Information will be provided regarding the treatment equipment, treatment planning systems and their relevant acceptance tests, commissioning, and quality control procedures. Finally, the role of the Medical Radiation Physicist will be presented in the Radiotherapy Department.


  1. Introduction: Ionizing radiations – matter interactions in radiotherapy. History of Radiation Therapy.
  2. Equipment for External Beam Radiotherapy

Basic principle of operation Supervoltage, x-ray units, Cobalt-60 Cs-137, Linear Accelerator (Linacs, Cyber Knife, MR Linac, Gamma knife), Conventional Simulator, CT-Simulator.

  • External Photon Beams Radiotherapy

Physical and Clinical aspects, Percentage Depth Dose characteristics, Tissue Maximum Ratio, Tissue Air Ratio, Tissue Phantom Ratio, Profile Characteristics.

  • External Electron Beams Radiotherapy

Physical and Clinical aspects, Percentage Depth Dose characteristics, Profile Characteristics.

  • Calibration of Photon and Electron Beams

Dosimetry protocols (TRS398, AAPM TG51).

  • Clinical Treatment Planning in External Photon Beam Radiotherapy

Beam arrangements (SSD, SAD, Static, rotational), Isodose curves, Wedge filters, Bolus, Inhomogeneities, Dose calculation algorithms, plan evaluation (TCP, NTCP, DVH, Dose statistics), Dose rate, MU. Plan verification. Treatment delivery. Plan calculation practical.

  • Clinical Treatment Planning in External Electron Beam Radiotherapy

Beam arrangements (SSD, Static), Electron Applicators, Isodose curves, Bolus, Inhomogeneities, Dose calculation algorithms, Dose rate, MU. Plan verification.  Treatment delivery.

  • Quality Assurance and Quality Control In External Beam Radiotherapy

Acceptance tests, commissioning measurements, quality control procedures, audits. Quality Control Practical.

  • Special Procedures and Techniques in Radiotherapy

Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy. Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy. Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery. Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. Image-Guided Radiation Therapy. Proton Beam Therapy.

  1. Brachytherapy

Physical and Clinical Aspects. Photon and Electron source characteristics, clinical use and dosimetry systems, dose specification and reporting, dose distribution, commissioning. High-Dose Rate Brachytherapy. Afterloading Techniques. Implant examples. Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Brachytherapy.

  1. Monte Carlo Simulation

Monte Carlo Simulation tools and application examples.

Suggested Textbooks

  • Radiation Oncology Physics: A Handbook for Teachers and Students,

E.B. Podgorsak, 2005, Sponsored by the IAEA and endorsed by the COMP/CCPM, EFOMP, ESTRO, IOMP, PAHO and WHO.

  • The Physics of Radiation Therapy, Khan Faiz M., Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 5th edition, 2014.
  • Lecture Notes

Grading policy

Projects and written examinations.