Interfractional variations in the setup of pelvic bony anatomy and soft tissue, and their implications on the delivery of proton therapy for localized prostate cancer.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics (Impact Factor: 4.59). 10/2010; 80(3):928-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.08.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To quantify daily variations in the anatomy of patients undergoing radiation therapy for prostate carcinoma, to estimate their effect on dose distribution, and to evaluate the effectiveness of current standard planning and setup approaches employed in proton therapy.
We used series of computed tomography data, which included the pretreatment scan, and between 21 and 43 in-room scans acquired on different treatment days, from 10 patients treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy at Morristown Memorial Hospital. Variations in femur rotation angles, thickness of subcutaneous adipose tissue, and physical depth to the distal surface of the prostate for lateral beam arrangement were recorded. Proton dose distributions were planned with the standard approach. Daily variations in the location of the prescription isodose were evaluated.
In all 10 datasets, substantial variation was observed in the lateral tissue thickness (standard deviation of 1.7-3.6 mm for individual patients, variations of >5 mm from the planning computed tomography observed in all series), and femur rotation angle (standard deviation between 1.3° and 4.8°, with the maximum excursion exceeding 10° in 6 of 10 datasets). Shifts in the position of treated volume (98% isodose) were correlated with the variations in the lateral tissue thickness.
Analysis suggests that, combined with image-guided setup verification, the range compensator expansion technique prevents loss of dose to target from femur rotation and soft-tissue deformation, in the majority of cases. Anatomic changes coupled with the uncertainties of particle penetration in tissue restrict possibilities for margin reduction in proton therapy of prostate cancer.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Biological effect of radiation can be enhanced with hypofractionation, localized dose escalation, and, in particle therapy, with optimized distribution of linear energy transfer (LET). The authors describe a method to construct inhomogeneous fractional dose (IFD) distributions, and evaluate the potential gain in the therapeutic effect from their delivery in proton therapy delivered by pencil beam scanning.Methods: For 13 cases of prostate cancer, the authors considered hypofractionated courses of 60 Gy delivered in 20 fractions. (All doses denoted in Gy include the proton's mean relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of 1.1.) Two types of plans were optimized using two opposed lateral beams to deliver a uniform dose of 3 Gy per fraction to the target by scanning: (1) in conventional full-target plans (FTP), each beam irradiated the entire gland, (2) in split-target plans (STP), beams irradiated only the respective proximal hemispheres (prostate split sagittally). Inverse planning yielded intensity maps, in which discrete position control points of the scanned beam (spots) were assigned optimized intensity values. FTP plans preferentially required a higher intensity of spots in the distal part of the target, while STP, by design, employed proximal spots. To evaluate the utility of IFD delivery, IFD plans were generated by rearranging the spot intensities from FTP or STP intensity maps, separately as well as combined using a variety of mixing weights. IFD courses were designed so that, in alternating fractions, one of the hemispheres of the prostate would receive a dose boost and the other receive a lower dose, while the total physical dose from the IFD course was roughly uniform across the prostate. IFD plans were normalized so that the equivalent uniform dose (EUD) of rectum and bladder did not increase, compared to the baseline FTP plan, which irradiated the prostate uniformly in every fraction. An EUD-based model was then applied to estimate tumor control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP). To assess potential local RBE variations, LET distributions were calculated with Monte Carlo, and compared for different plans. The results were assessed in terms of their sensitivity to uncertainties in model parameters and delivery.Results: IFD courses included equal number of fractions boosting either hemisphere, thus, the combined physical dose was close to uniform throughout the prostate. However, for the entire course, the prostate EUD in IFD was higher than in conventional FTP by up to 14%, corresponding to the estimated increase in TCP to 96% from 88%. The extent of gain depended on the mixing factor, i.e., relative weights used to combine FTP and STP spot weights. Increased weighting of STP typically yielded a higher target EUD, but also led to increased sensitivity of dose to variations in the proton's range. Rectal and bladder EUD were same or lower (per normalization), and the NTCP for both remained below 1%. The LET distributions in IFD also depended strongly on the mixing weights: plans using higher weight of STP spots yielded higher LET, indicating a potentially higher local RBE.Conclusions: In proton therapy delivered by pencil beam scanning, improved therapeutic outcome can potentially be expected with delivery of IFD distributions, while administering the prescribed quasi-uniform dose to the target over the entire course. The biological effectiveness of IFD may be further enhanced by optimizing the LET distributions. IFD distributions are characterized by a dose gradient located in proximity of the prostate's midplane, thus, the fidelity of delivery would depend crucially on the precision with which the proton range could be controlled.
    Medical Physics 05/2013; 40(5):051708. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the dosimetric impact caused by the interplay between intrafraction prostate motion and the intermittent delivery of proton pencil beam scanning (PBS). A cohort of 10 prostate patients was treated with PBS using a bilateral single-field uniform dose (SFUD) modality. Bilateral intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) plans were generated for comparison. Because beam-on time in PBS was intermittent, the actual beam-on time was determined from treatment logs. Prostate motion was generalized according to real-time Calypso tracking data from our previously reported prospective photon trial. We investigated potential dose deviations by considering the interplay effect resulting from the worst-case scenario motion and the PBS delivery sequence. For both bilateral-field SFUD and IMPT plans, clinical target volume (CTV) D99% coverage was degraded <2% owing to prostate intrafraction motion when averaged over the course of treatment, but was >10% for the worst fraction. The standard deviation of CTV D99% distribution was approximately 1.2%. The CTV coverage of individual fields in SFUD plans degraded as time elapsed after the initial alignment, owing to prostate drift. Intensity-modulated proton therapy and SFUD demonstrated comparable results when bilateral opposed fields were used. Single-field SFUD plans that were repainted twice, which could reduce half of the treatment time, resulted in similar CTV coverage as bilateral-field plans. Intrafraction prostate motion affects the actual delivered dose to CTV; however, when averaged over the course of treatment, CTV D99% coverage degraded only approximately 2% even for the worst-case scenario. The IMPT plan results are comparable to those of the SFUD plan, and similar coverage can be achieved if treated by SFUD 1 lateral field per day when rescanning the field twice to shorten the treatment time and mitigate intrafraction motion.
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 10/2013; 87(2):375-82. · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: The α-to-β (α∕β) ratio for prostate tumor is likely lower than that for the surrounding normal organs, such as rectum and bladder (∼3 Gy). As a result, hypofractionation is expected to improve the therapeutic ratio in prostate radiation therapy. However, with the use of fewer, larger fractions, the accuracy of treatment dose delivery becomes more influenced by the physical uncertainties resulting from motion and radiobiological uncertainties in the α∕β ratio of the prostate tumor. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of interfractional motion on treatment dose delivery within the likely range of the tumor α∕β ratio.Methods: Serial CT images acquired at simulation and daily treatment for three prostate patients were studied retrospectively. A conventional 3D-conformal proton plan was created for each patient, delivering 25 fractions of 2 Gy to ITV1 (internal target volume, expanded from the prostate and clinically involved seminal vesicles) followed by 14 fractions to ITV2 (expanded from the prostate). The plans were renormalized for a series of hypofractionated protocols of between five and 28 fractions. The fractional doses were computed on daily CT and were mapped onto simulation CT using deformable registration. In each course, the doses from the fractions with the lowest D97% of the ITV2 were summed to approximate the lower limit (worst case) of target coverage. The uncertainty in dose and coverage was estimated as the deviation of the worst case from the nominal plan.Results: For treatments in 28 to five fractions, the uncertainty arising from interfractional motion ranged from ∼1% to 4% for V100% and ∼2% to 6% for D100% of the ITV2. The uncertainties in V95% and D95% were both minimal (<1%) for all protocols. For tumors with a low α∕β of 1.0 Gy, the treatment in five fractions could deliver an additional 21.0 and 17.4 GyEQD2 to 95% and 100% of the ITV2, respectively, compared to that in 28 fractions. This advantage disappeared for tumors with α∕β > 2.5 Gy, assuming the worst case for interfractional motion.Conclusions: In hypofractionated proton therapy for prostate cancer, the dosimetric uncertainties due to interfractional motion were minimal for the ITV2 coverage at 95% isodose level and the dose received by 95% of the ITV2. Although hypofractionation could yield an increase in equivalent dose to the target for tumors with low α∕β, the gain was cancelled out by the uncertainty due to interfractional motion for tumors with α∕β > 2.5 Gy.
    Medical Physics 07/2013; 40(7):071714. · 2.91 Impact Factor

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