To compare the dosimetric differences between volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and helical tomotherapy (HT) in treating early T-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Ten patients with early T-stage NPC who received tomotherapy using simultaneously integrated boost (SIB) strategies were replanned with VMAT (RapidArc of Varian, dual-arc). Dosimetric comparisons between the RapidArc plan and the HT plan included the following: (1) D98, homogeneity, and conformity of PTVs; (2) sparing of organs at risk (OARs); (3) delivery time and monitor units (MUs).
(1) Compared with RapidArc, HT achieved better dose conformity (CI of PGTVnx + nd: 0.861 versus 0.818, P = 0.004). (2) In terms of OAR protection, RapidArc exhibited significant superiority in sparing ipsilateral optic nerve (Dmax: 27.5Gy versus 49.1Gy, P < 0.001; D2: 23.5Gy versus 48.2Gy, P < 0.001), contralateral optic nerve (Dmax: 30.4Gy versus 49.2Gy, P < 0.001; D2: 26.2Gy versus 48.1Gy, P < 0.001), and optic chiasm (Dmax: 32.8Gy versus 48.3Gy, P < 0.001; D2: 30Gy versus 47.6Gy, P < 0.001). HT demonstrated a superior ability to protect the brain stem (D1cc: 43.0Gy versus 45.2Gy, P = 0.012), ipsilateral temporal lobe (Dmax 64.5Gy versus 66.4 Gy, P = 0.015), contralateral temporal lobe (Dmax: 62.8Gy versus 65.1Gy, P = 0.001), ipsilateral lens (Dmax: 4.27Gy versus 5.24Gy, P = 0.009; D2: 4.00Gy versus 5.05Gy, P = 0.002; Dmean: 2.99Gy versus 4.31Gy, P < 0.001), contralateral lens (Dmax: 4.25Gy versus 5.09Gy, P = 0.047; D2: 3.91Gy versus 4.92Gy, P = 0.005; Dmean: 2.91Gy versus 4.18Gy, P < 0.001), ipsilateral parotid (Dmean: 36.4Gy versus 41.1Gy, P = 0.002; V30Gy: 54.8% versus 70.4%, P = 0.009), and contralateral parotid (Dmean: 33.4Gy versus 39.1Gy, P < 0.001; V30Gy: 48.2% versus 67.3%, P = 0.005). There were no statistically significant differences in spinal cord or pituitary protection between the RapidArc plan and the HT plan. (3) RapidArc achieved a much shorter delivery time (3.8 min versus 7.5 min, P < 0.001) and a lower MU (618MUs versus 5646MUs, P < 0.001).
Our results show that RapidArc and HT are comparable in D98, dose homogeneity, and protection of the spinal cord and pituitary gland. RapidArc performs better in shortening delivery time, lowering MUs, and sparing the optic nerve and optic chiasm. HT is superior in dose conformity and protection of the brain stem, temporal lobe, lens, and parotid.