Radiotherapy Dose Perturbation of Esophageal Stents Examined in an Experimental Model

Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics (Impact Factor: 4.26). 04/2011; 82(5):1659-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.02.020
Source: PubMed


To investigate the radiotherapy dose perturbations caused by esophageal stents in patients undergoing external beam treatments for esophageal cancer.
Four esophageal stents were examined (three metallic stents: WallFlex, Ultraflex, and Alveolus; one nonmetallic stent with limited radiopaque markers for visualization: Polyflex). All experiments were performed in a liquid water phantom with a custom acrylic stent holder. Radiochromic film was used to measure the dose distributions adjacent to the stents at locations proximal and distal to the radiation source. The stents were placed in an air-filled cavity to simulate the esophagus. Treatment plans were created and delivered for photon energies of 6 and 15 MV, and data analysis was performed on uniform regions of interest, according to the size and geometric placement of the films, to quantify the dose perturbations.
The three metallic stents produced the largest dose perturbations with distinct patterns of "hot" spots (increased dose) measured proximal to the radiation source (up to 15.4%) and both "cold" (decreased dose) and hot spots measured distal to the radiation source (range, -6.1%-5.8%). The polymeric Polyflex stent produced similar dose perturbations when the radiopaque markers were examined (range, -7.6%-15.4%). However, when the radiopaque markers were excluded from the analysis, the Polyflex stent produced significantly smaller dose perturbations, with maximum hot spots of 7.3% and cold spots of -3.2%.
The dose perturbations caused by esophageal stents during the treatment of esophageal cancer using external beam radiotherapy should be understood. These perturbations will result in hot and cold spots in the esophageal mucosa, with varying magnitudes depending on the stent. The nonmetallic Polyflex stent appears to be the most suitable for patients undergoing radiotherapy, but further studies are necessary to determine the clinical significance of the dose perturbations.

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