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A treatment planning comparison of 3D conformal therapy, intensity modulated photon therapy and proton therapy for treatment of advanced head and neck tumours



A treatment planning comparison of 3D conformal therapy, intensity modulated photon therapy and proton therapy for treatment of advanced head and neck tumours



Radiotherapy and Oncology 61(3): 287-297



Background and purpose: In this work, the potential benefits and limitations of different treatment techniques, based on mixed photon-electron beams, 3D conformal therapy, intensity modulated photons (IM) and protons (passively scattered and spot scanned), have been assessed using comparative treatment planning methods in a cohort of patients presenting with advanced head and neck tumours. Material and methods: Plans for five patients were computed for all modalities using CT scans to delineate target volume (PTV) and organs at risk (OAR) and to predict dose distributions. The prescribed dose to the PTV was 54 Gy, whilst the spinal cord was constrained to a maximum dose of 40.5 Gy for all techniques. Dose volume histograms were used for physical and biological evaluation, which included equivalent uniform dose (EUD) calculations. Results: Excluding the mixed photon-electron technique, PTV coverage was within the defined limits for all techniques, with protons providing significantly improved dose homogeneity, resulting in correspondingly higher EUD results. For the spinal cord, protons also provided the best sparing with maximum doses as low as 17 Gy. Whilst the IM plans were demonstrated to be significantly superior to non-modulated photon plans, they were found to be inferior to protons for both criteria. A similar result was found for the parotid glands. Although they are partially included in the treated volume there is a clear indication that protons, and to a lesser extent IM photons, could play an important role in preserving organ functionality with a consequent improvement of the patient's quality of life. Conclusions: For advanced head and neck tumours, we have demonstrated that the use of IM photons or protons both have the potential to reduce the possibility of spinal cord toxicity. In addition, a substantial reduction of dose to the parotid glands through the use of protons enhances the interest for such a treatment modality in cases of advanced head and neck tumours. However, in terms of target coverage, the use of 3D conformal therapy, although somewhat inferior in quality to protons or IM photons, has been shown to be a reasonable alternative to the more advanced techniques. In contrast, the conventional technique of mixed photon and electron fields has been shown to be inferior to all other techniques for both target coverage and OAR involvement.

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Accession: 010105385

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11730999

DOI: 10.1016/s0167-8140(01)00403-0


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