Planning the breast boost: comparison of three techniques and evolution of tumor bed during treatment

Jaroslaw T Hepel, Suzanne B Evans, Jessica R Hiatt, Lori Lyn Price, Thomas DiPetrillo, David E Wazer, Stephanie G MacAusland
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2009 June 1, 74 (2): 458-63

PURPOSE: To evaluate the accuracy of two clinical techniques for electron boost planning compared with computed tomography (CT)-based planning. Additionally, we evaluated the tumor bed characteristics at whole breast planning and boost planning.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A total of 30 women underwent tumor bed boost planning within 2 weeks of completing whole breast radiotherapy using three planning techniques: scar-based planning, palpation/clinical-based planning, and CT-based planning. The plans were analyzed for dosimetric coverage of the CT-delineated tumor bed. The cavity visualization score was used to define the CT-delineated tumor bed as well or poorly defined.

RESULTS: Scar-based planning resulted in inferior tumor bed coverage compared with CT-based planning, with the minimal dose received by 90% of the target volume >90% in 53% and a geographic miss in 53%. The results of palpation/clinical-based planning were significantly better: 87% and 10% for the minimal dose received by 90% of the target volume >90% and geographic miss, respectively. Of the 30 tumor beds, 16 were poorly defined by the cavity visualization score. Of these 16, 8 were well demarcated by the surgical clips. The evaluation of the 22 well-defined tumor beds revealed similar results. A comparison of the tumor bed volume from the initial planning CT scan to the boost planning CT scan revealed a decrease in size in 77% of cases. The mean decrease in volume was 52%.

CONCLUSION: The results of our study have shown that CT-based planning allows for optimal tumor bed coverage compared with clinical and scar-based approaches. However, in the setting of a poorly visualized cavity on CT without surgical clips, palpation/clinical-based planning can help delineate the appropriate target volumes and is superior to scar-based planning. CT simulation at boost planning could allow for a reduction in the boost volumes.

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