Dosimetric Comparison of Intensity-modulated, Conformal, and Four-field Pelvic Radiotherapy

September 22, 2011

Dosimetric Comparison of Intensity-modulated, Conformal, and Four-field Pelvic Radiotherapy Boost Plans for Gynecologic Cancer: A Retrospective Planning Study

Published 4 May 2006
Abstract (provisional)

Background
To evaluate intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) as an alternative to conformal radiotherapy (CRT) or 4-field box boost (4FB) in women with gynecologic malignancies who are unsuitable for brachytherapy for technical or medical reasons.

Methods
Dosimetric and toxicity information was analyzed for 12 patients with cervical (8), endometrial (2) or vaginal (2) cancer previously treated with external beam pelvic radiotherapy and a CRT boost. Optimized IMRT boost treatment plans were then developed for each of the 12 patients and compared to CRT and 4FB plans. The plans were compared in terms of dose conformality and critical normal tissue avoidance.

Results
The median planning target volume (PTV) was 151 cm3 (range 58-512 cm3). The median overlap of the contoured rectum with the PTV was 15 (1-56) %, and 11 (4-35) % for the bladder. Two of the 12 patients, both with large PTVs and large overlap of the contoured rectum and PTV, developed grade 3 rectal bleeding. The dose conformity was significantly improved with IMRT over CRT and 4FB (p<0.001 for both). IMRT also yielded an overall improvement in the rectal and bladder dose-volume distributions relative to CRT and 4FB. The volume of rectum that received the highest doses (>66% of the prescription) was reduced by 22% (p<0.001) with IMRT relative to 4FB, and the bladder volume was reduced by 19% (p<0.001). This was at the expense of an increase in the volume of these organs receiving doses in the lowest range (<33%).

Conclusions
These results indicate that IMRT can improve target coverage and reduce dose to critical structures in gynecologic patients receiving an external beam radiotherapy boost. This dosimetric advantage will be integrated with other patient and treatment-specific factors, particularly internal tumor movement during fractionated radiotherapy, in the context of a future image-guided radiation therapy study.