COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Comparison of heart and coronary artery doses associated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy versus three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy for distal esophageal cancer

Thomas P Kole, Osarhieme Aghayere, Jason Kwah, Ellen D Yorke, Karyn A Goodman
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2012 August 1, 83 (5): 1580-6
22284687

PURPOSE: To compare heart and coronary artery radiation exposure using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) vs. four-field three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) treatment plans for patients with distal esophageal cancer undergoing chemoradiation.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Nineteen patients with distal esophageal cancers treated with IMRT from March 2007 to May 2008 were identified. All patients were treated to 50.4 Gy with five-field IMRT plans. Theoretical 3D-CRT plans with four-field beam arrangements were generated. Dose-volume histograms of the planning target volume, heart, right coronary artery, left coronary artery, and other critical normal tissues were compared between the IMRT and 3D-CRT plans, and selected parameters were statistically evaluated using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test.

RESULTS: Intensity-modulated radiotherapy treatment planning showed significant reduction (p < 0.05) in heart dose over 3D-CRT as assessed by average mean dose (22.9 vs. 28.2 Gy) and V30 (24.8% vs. 61.0%). There was also significant sparing of the right coronary artery (average mean dose, 23.8 Gy vs. 35.5 Gy), whereas the left coronary artery showed no significant improvement (mean dose, 11.2 Gy vs. 9.2 Gy), p = 0.11. There was no significant difference in percentage of total lung volume receiving at least 10, 15, or 20 Gy or in the mean lung dose between the planning methods. There were also no significant differences observed for the kidneys, liver, stomach, or spinal cord. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy achieved a significant improvement in target conformity as measured by the conformality index (ratio of total volume receiving 95% of prescription dose to planning target volume receiving 95% of prescription dose), with the mean conformality index reduced from 1.56 to 1.30 using IMRT.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment of patients with distal esophageal cancer using IMRT significantly decreases the exposure of the heart and right coronary artery when compared with 3D-CRT. Long-term studies are necessary to determine how this will impact on development of coronary artery disease and other cardiac complications.

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