Cardiac and pulmonary dose reduction for tangentially irradiated breast cancer, utilizing deep inspiration breath-hold with audio-visual guidance, without compromising target coverage

Johan Vikström, Mari H B Hjelstuen, Ingvil Mjaaland, Kjell Ivar Dybvik
Acta Oncologica 2011, 50 (1): 42-50

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: cardiac disease and pulmonary complications are documented risk factors in tangential breast irradiation. Respiratory gating radiotherapy provides a possibility to substantially reduce cardiopulmonary doses. This CT planning study quantifies the reduction of radiation doses to the heart and lung, using deep inspiration breath-hold (DIBH).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: seventeen patients with early breast cancer, referred for adjuvant radiotherapy, were included. For each patient two CT scans were acquired; the first during free breathing (FB) and the second during DIBH. The scans were monitored by the Varian RPM respiratory gating system. Audio coaching and visual feedback (audio-visual guidance) were used. The treatment planning of the two CT studies was performed with conformal tangential fields, focusing on good coverage (V(95)>98%) of the planning target volume (PTV). Dose-volume histograms were calculated and compared. Doses to the heart, left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery, ipsilateral lung and the contralateral breast were assessed.

RESULTS: compared to FB, the DIBH-plans obtained lower cardiac and pulmonary doses, with equal coverage of PTV. The average mean heart dose was reduced from 3.7 to 1.7 Gy and the number of patients with >5% heart volume receiving 25 Gy or more was reduced from four to one of the 17 patients. With DIBH the heart was completely out of the beam portals for ten patients, with FB this could not be achieved for any of the 17 patients. The average mean dose to the LAD coronary artery was reduced from 18.1 to 6.4 Gy. The average ipsilateral lung volume receiving more than 20 Gy was reduced from 12.2 to 10.0%.

CONCLUSION: respiratory gating with DIBH, utilizing audio-visual guidance, reduces cardiac and pulmonary doses for tangentially treated left sided breast cancer patients without compromising the target coverage.

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