The rapid implementation of advanced treatment planning and delivery technologies for radiation therapy has brought new challenges in evaluating the most effective treatment modality. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) using multi-leaf collimators (MLC) and helical tomotherapy (HT) are becoming popular modes of treatment delivery and their application and effectiveness continues to be investigated. Presently, there are several treatment planning systems (TPS) that can generate and optimize IMRT plans based on user-defined objective functions for the internal target volume (ITV) and organs at risk (OAR). However, the radiobiological parameters of the different tumours and normal tissues are typically not taken into account during dose prescription and optimization of a treatment plan or during plan evaluation. The suitability of a treatment plan is typically decided based on dosimetric criteria such as dose-volume histograms (DVH), maximum, minimum, mean and standard deviation of the dose distribution. For a more comprehensive treatment plan evaluation, the biologically effective uniform dose is applied together with the complication-free tumour control probability (P+). Its utilization is demonstrated using three clinical cases that were planned with two different forms of IMRT. In this study, three different cancer types at different anatomical sites were investigated: head and neck, lung and prostate cancers. For each cancer type, a linac MLC-based step-and-shoot IMRT plan and a HT plan were developed. The MLC-based IMRT treatment plans were developed on the Philips treatment-planning platform, using the Pinnacle 7.6 software release. For the tomotherapy HiArt plans, the dedicated tomotherapy treatment planning station was used, running version 2.1.2. By using as the common prescription point of the treatment plans and plotting the tissue response probabilities versus for a range of prescription doses, a number of plan trials can be compared based on radiobiological measures. The applied plan evaluation method shows that in the head and neck cancer case the HT treatment gives better results than MLC-based IMRT in terms of expected clinical outcome (P+ of 62.2% and 46.0%, to the ITV of 72.3 Gy and 70.7 Gy, respectively). In the lung cancer and prostate cancer cases, the MLC-based IMRT plans are better over the clinically useful dose prescription range. For the lung cancer case, the HT and MLC-based IMRT plans give a P+ of 66.9% and 72.9%, to the ITV of 64.0 Gy and 66.9 Gy, respectively. Similarly, for the prostate cancer case, the two radiation modalities give a P+ of 68.7% and 72.2%, to the ITV of 86.0 Gy and 85.9 Gy, respectively. If a higher risk of complications (higher than 5%) could be allowed, the complication-free tumour control could increase by over 40%, 2% and 30% compared to the initial dose prescription for the three cancer cases, respectively. Both MLC-based IMRT and HT can encompass the often-large ITV required while they minimize the volume of the organs at risk receiving high doses. Radiobiological evaluation of treatment plans may provide an improved correlation of the delivered treatment with the clinical outcome by taking into account the dose-response characteristics of the irradiated targets and normal tissues. There may exist clinical cases, which may look dosimetrically similar but in radiobiological terms may be quite different. In such situations, traditional dose-based evaluation tools can be complemented by the use of diagrams to effectively evaluate and compare treatment plans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging