Evaluation of volumetric modulated arc therapy for cranial radiosurgery using multiple noncoplanar arcs.
ABSTRACT To evaluate a commercial volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), using multiple noncoplanar arcs, for linac-based cranial radiosurgery, as well as evaluate the combined accuracy of the VMAT dose calculations and delivery.
Twelve patients with cranial lesions of variable size (0.1-29 cc) and two multiple metastases patients were planned (Eclipse RapidArc AAA algorithm, v8.6.15) using VMAT (1-6 noncoplanar arcs), dynamic conformal arc (DCA, ∼4 arcs), and IMRT (nine static fields). All plans were evaluated according to a conformity index (CI), healthy brain tissue doses and volumes, and the dose to organs at risk. A 2D dose distribution was measured (Varian Novalis Tx, HD120 MLC, 1000 MU/min, 6 MV beam) for the ∼4 arc VMAT treatment plans using calibrated film dosimetry.
The CI (0-1 best) average for all plans was best for ∼4 noncoplanar arc VMAT at 0.86 compared with ∼0.78 for IMRT and a single arc VMAT and 0.68 for DCA. The volumes of healthy brain receiving 50% of the prescribed target coverage dose or more (V(50%)) were lowest for the four arc VMAT [RA(4)] and DCA plans. The average ratio of the V(50%) for the other plans to the RA(4) V(50%) were 1.9 for a single noncoplanar arc VMAT [RA(1nc)], 1.4 for single full coplanar arc VMAT [RA(1f)] and 1.3 for IMRT. The V(50%) improved significantly for single isocenter multiple metastases plan when two noncoplanar VMAT arcs were added to a full single coplanar one. The maximum dose to 5 cc of the outer 1 cm rim of healthy brain which one may want to keep below nonconsequential doses of 300-400 cGy, was 2-3 times greater for IMRT, RA(1nc) and RA(1f) plans compared with the multiple noncoplanar arc DCA and RA(4) techniques. Organs at risk near (0-4 mm) to targets were best spared by (i) single noncoplanar arcs when the targets are lateral to the organ at risk and (ii) by skewed nonvertical planes of IMRT fields when the targets are not lateral to the organ at risk. The highest dose gradient observed between an organ at risk and a target at the edge of a VMAT arc plane or plane of IMRT fields was 17%/mm. The average absolute percent difference between the measured and calculated central axis dose for all the VMAT plans was 3.6 ± 2.2%. The measured perpendicular profile widths and shifts were on average within 0.5 mm of planned values. The average total MUs for VMAT plans was double the DCA average and similar to the IMRT average.
For the aforementioned planning and delivery system and cranial lesions greater than 7 mm in diameter, multiple noncoplanar arc VMAT consistently provides accurate and high quality cranial radiosurgery dose distributions with low doses to healthy brain tissue and high dose conformity to the target. These qualities may make multiple noncoplanar arc VMAT suitable for a greater range of prescription doses or larger and more irregular lesions. For smaller and/or rounder lesions there are other clinically acceptable treatment techniques that may involve fewer couch angles or arcs and reduce treatment times.