Dosimetry and radiobiologic model comparison of IMRT and 3D conformal radiotherapy in treatment of carcinoma of the prostate

Gary Luxton, Steven L Hancock, Arthur L Boyer
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2004 May 1, 59 (1): 267-84

INTRODUCTION: Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) has introduced novel dosimetry that often features increased dose heterogeneity to target and normal structures. This raises questions of the biologic effects of IMRT compared to conventional treatment. We compared dosimetry and radiobiologic model predictions of tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) for prostate cancer patients planned for IMRT as opposed to standardized three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT).

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Segmented multileaf collimator IMRT treatment plans for 32 prostate cancer patients were compared to 3DCRT plans for the same patients. Twenty-two received local-field irradiation (LFI), and 10 received extended-field irradiation (EFI) that included pelvic lymph nodes. For LFI, IMRT was planned for delivery of 2 Gy minimum dose to the prostate (> or =99% volume coverage) for 35 fractions. The 3DCRT plans, characterized by more homogenous dose to the target, were designed according to a different protocol to deliver 2 Gy to the center of the prostate for 37 fractions. Mean total dose from 35 fractions of IMRT was equal to mean total dose from 37 fractions of 3DCRT. For EFI, both IMRT and 3DCRT were planned for 2 Gy per fraction to a total dose of 50 Gy to prostate and pelvic lymph nodes, followed by 2 Gy per fraction to 20 Gy to the prostate alone. Treatment dose for EFI-IMRT was defined as minimum dose to the target, whereas for EFI-3DCRT, it was defined as dose to the center of the prostate. TCP was calculated for the prostate in the linear-quadratic model for two choices of alpha/beta. NTCP was calculated with the Lyman model for organs at risk, using Kutcher-Burman dose-volume histogram reduction with Emami parameters.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Dose to the prostate, expressed as mean +/- standard deviation, was 74.7 +/- 1.1 Gy for IMRT vs. 74.6 +/- 0.3 Gy for 3D for the LFI plans, and 74.8 +/- 0.6 Gy for IMRT vs. 71.5 +/- 0.6 Gy for 3D for the EFI plans. For the studied protocols, TCP was greater for IMRT than for 3D across the full range of target sensitivity, for both localized- and extended-field irradiation. For LFI, this was due to the smaller number of fractions (35 vs. 37) used for IMRT, and for EFI, this was due to the greater mean dose for IMRT, compared to 3D. For all organs, mean NTCP tended to be lower for IMRT than for 3D, although NTCP values were very small for both 3D and IMRT. Differences were statistically significant for rectum (LFI and EFI), bladder (EFI), and bowel (EFI). For both LFI and EFI, the calculated NTCPs qualitatively agreed with early published clinical data comparing genitourinary and gastrointestinal complications of IMRT and 3D. Present calculations support the hypothesis that accurately delivered IMRT for prostate cancer can limit dose to normal tissue by reducing treatment margins relative to conventional 3D planning, to allow a reduction in complication rate spanning several sensitive structures while maintaining or increasing tumor control probability.

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