Comparison of conventional inserts and an add-on electron MLC for chest wall irradiation of left-sided breast cancer

Tero Vatanen, Erik Traneus, Tapani Lahtinen
Acta Oncologica 2009, 48 (3): 446-51

BACKGROUND: Collimation of irregularly shaped clinical electron beams is currently based on electron inserts made of low melting point alloys. The present investigation compares a conventional electron applicator with insert and add-on eMLC-based dose distributions in the postoperative chest wall irradiation of left-sided breast cancer.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Voxel Monte Carlo++ (VMC++) calculated dose distributions related to electron fields were compared with 10 left-sided breast cancer patients after radical mastectomy. The prescription dose was 50 Gy at a build-up maximum. The same dose was prescribed for the ipsilateral axillary, parasternal and supraclavicular lymph nodes that were treated with photons and calculated with a pencil beam algorithm. The insert beams were shaped with 1.5 cm thick Wood's metal electron inserts in an electron applicator of a Varian 2100 C/D linac. Doses for the eMLC-shaped beams were calculated for an eMLC prototype with 2 cm thick and 5 mm wide steel leaves. The same collimator-to-surface distance (CSD) of 5.8 cm was used for both collimators.

RESULTS: The mean PTV dose was slightly higher for the eMLC plans (50.7 vs 49.5 Gy, p<0.001, respectively). The maximum doses assessed by D5% for the eMLC and insert were 60.9 and 59.1 Gy (p<0.001). The difference was due to the slightly higher doses near the field edges for the eMLC. The left lung V20 volumes were 34.5% and 34.0% (p<0.001). There was only a marginal difference in heart doses.

DISCUSSION: Despite a slight increase of maximum dose in PTV the add-on electron MLC for chest wall irradiation results in practically no differences in dose distributions compared with the present insert-based collimation.

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