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      Treatment planning study of the 3D dosimetric differences between Co-60 and Ir-192 sources in high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy for cervix cancer

      , MSc, BSc , 1 , 2 , , MSc, BSc 1 , , PhD, MSc, BSc 1

      Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy

      Termedia Publishing House

      high dose-rate (HDR), brachytherapy, cervix cancer, Co-60, treatment plan

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          To evaluate whether Co-60 is equivalent to Ir-192 for HDR cervical brachytherapy, through 3D-DVH dose comparisons in standard and optimised plans. Previous studies have only considered 2D dosimetry, point dose comparisons or identical loading. Typical treatment times and economics are considered.

          Material and methods

          Plans were produced for eight cervix patients using Co-60 and Ir-192 sources, CT imaging and IU/two-channel-ring applicator (Eckert Ziegler BEBIG). The comparison was made under two conditions: (A) identical dwell positions and loading, prescribed to Point A and (B) optimised source dwells, prescribed to HR-CTV. This provided a direct comparison of inherent differences and residual differences under typical clinical plan optimisation. The DVH (target and OAR), ICRU reference points and isodose distributions were compared. Typical treatment times and source replacement costs were compared.


          Small differences ( p < 0.01) in 3D dosimetry exist when using Co-60 compared to Ir-192, prescribed to Point A with identical loading patterns, particularly 3.3% increase in rectum D2cc. No significant difference was observed in this parameter when prescribing to the HR-CTV using dwell-time optimisation. There was no statistically significant difference in D90 between the two isotopes. Co-60 plans delivered consistently higher V150% (mean +4.4%, p = 0.03) and V400% (mean +11.6%, p < 0.01) compared to Ir-192 in optimised plans. Differences in physical source properties were overwhelmed by geometric effects.


          Co-60 may be used as an effective alternative to Ir-192 for HDR cervix brachytherapy, producing similar plans of equivalent D90, but with logistical benefits. There is a small dose increase along the extension of the source axis when using Co-60 compared to Ir-192, leading to small rectal dose increases for identical loading patterns. This can be eliminated by planning optimisation techniques. Such optimisation may also be associated with increases in the overdose volume (V150-V400) with Co-60 compared to Ir-192.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Recommendations from gynaecological (GYN) GEC ESTRO working group (II): concepts and terms in 3D image-based treatment planning in cervix cancer brachytherapy-3D dose volume parameters and aspects of 3D image-based anatomy, radiation physics, radiobiology.

          The second part of the GYN GEC ESTRO working group recommendations is focused on 3D dose-volume parameters for brachytherapy of cervical carcinoma. Methods and parameters have been developed and validated from dosimetric, imaging and clinical experience from different institutions (University of Vienna, IGR Paris, University of Leuven). Cumulative dose volume histograms (DVH) are recommended for evaluation of the complex dose heterogeneity. DVH parameters for GTV, HR CTV and IR CTV are the minimum dose delivered to 90 and 100% of the respective volume: D90, D100. The volume, which is enclosed by 150 or 200% of the prescribed dose (V150, V200), is recommended for overall assessment of high dose volumes. V100 is recommended for quality assessment only within a given treatment schedule. For Organs at Risk (OAR) the minimum dose in the most irradiated tissue volume is recommended for reporting: 0.1, 1, and 2 cm3; optional 5 and 10 cm3. Underlying assumptions are: full dose of external beam therapy in the volume of interest, identical location during fractionated brachytherapy, contiguous volumes and contouring of organ walls for >2 cm3. Dose values are reported as absorbed dose and also taking into account different dose rates. The linear-quadratic radiobiological model-equivalent dose (EQD2)-is applied for brachytherapy and is also used for calculating dose from external beam therapy. This formalism allows systematic assessment within one patient, one centre and comparison between different centres with analysis of dose volume relations for GTV, CTV, and OAR. Recommendations for the transition period from traditional to 3D image-based cervix cancer brachytherapy are formulated. Supplementary data (available in the electronic version of this paper) deals with aspects of 3D imaging, radiation physics, radiation biology, dose at reference points and dimensions and volumes for the GTV and CTV (adding to [Haie-Meder C, Pötter R, Van Limbergen E et al. Recommendations from Gynaecological (GYN) GEC ESTRO Working Group (I): concepts and terms in 3D image-based 3D treatment planning in cervix cancer brachytherapy with emphasis on MRI assessment of GTV and CTV. Radiother Oncol 2005;74:235-245]). It is expected that the therapeutic ratio including target coverage and sparing of organs at risk can be significantly improved, if radiation dose is prescribed to a 3D image-based CTV taking into account dose volume constraints for OAR. However, prospective use of these recommendations in the clinical context is warranted, to further explore and develop the potential of 3D image-based cervix cancer brachytherapy.
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            Update of AAPM Task Group No. 43 Report: A revised AAPM protocol for brachytherapy dose calculations.

            Since publication of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Task Group No. 43 Report in 1995 (TG-43), both the utilization of permanent source implantation and the number of low-energy interstitial brachytherapy source models commercially available have dramatically increased. In addition, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has introduced a new primary standard of air-kerma strength, and the brachytherapy dosimetry literature has grown substantially, documenting both improved dosimetry methodologies and dosimetric characterization of particular source models. In response to these advances, the AAPM Low-energy Interstitial Brachytherapy Dosimetry subcommittee (LIBD) herein presents an update of the TG-43 protocol for calculation of dose-rate distributions around photon-emitting brachytherapy sources. The updated protocol (TG-43U1) includes (a) a revised definition of air-kerma strength; (b) elimination of apparent activity for specification of source strength; (c) elimination of the anisotropy constant in favor of the distance-dependent one-dimensional anisotropy function; (d) guidance on extrapolating tabulated TG-43 parameters to longer and shorter distances; and (e) correction for minor inconsistencies and omissions in the original protocol and its implementation. Among the corrections are consistent guidelines for use of point- and line-source geometry functions. In addition, this report recommends a unified approach to comparing reference dose distributions derived from different investigators to develop a single critically evaluated consensus dataset as well as guidelines for performing and describing future theoretical and experimental single-source dosimetry studies. Finally, the report includes consensus datasets, in the form of dose-rate constants, radial dose functions, and one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) anisotropy functions, for all low-energy brachytherapy source models that met the AAPM dosimetric prerequisites [Med. Phys. 25, 2269 (1998)] as of July 15, 2001. These include the following 125I sources: Amersham Health models 6702 and 6711, Best Medical model 2301, North American Scientific Inc. (NASI) model MED3631-A/M, Bebig/Theragenics model I25.S06, and the Imagyn Medical Technologies Inc. isostar model IS-12501. The 103Pd sources included are the Theragenics Corporation model 200 and NASI model MED3633. The AAPM recommends that the revised dose-calculation protocol and revised source-specific dose-rate distributions be adopted by all end users for clinical treatment planning of low energy brachytherapy interstitial sources. Depending upon the dose-calculation protocol and parameters currently used by individual physicists, adoption of this protocol may result in changes to patient dose calculations. These changes should be carefully evaluated and reviewed with the radiation oncologist preceding implementation of the current protocol.
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              The American Brachytherapy Society recommendations for high-dose-rate brachytherapy for carcinoma of the cervix.

              This report presents guidelines for using high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy in the management of patients with cervical cancer, taking into consideration the current availability of resources in most institutions. Members of the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) with expertise in HDR brachytherapy for cervical cancer performed a literature review, supplemented their clinical experience to formulate guidelines for HDR brachytherapy of cervical cancer. The ABS strongly recommends that definitive irradiation for cervical carcinoma must include brachytherapy as a component. Each institution should follow a consistent treatment policy when performing HDR brachytherapy, including complete documentation of treatment parameters and correlation with clinical outcome, such as pelvic control, survival, and complications. The goals are to treat Point A to at least a total low-dose-rate (LDR) equivalent of 80-85 Gy for early stage disease and 85-90 Gy for advanced stage. The pelvic sidewall dose recommendations are 50-55 Gy for early lesions and 55-65 Gy for advanced ones. The relative doses given by external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) vs. brachytherapy depend upon the initial volume of disease, the ability to displace the bladder and rectum, the degree of tumor regression during pelvic irradiation, and institutional preference. As with LDR brachytherapy, every attempt should be made to keep the bladder and rectal doses below 80 Gy and 75 Gy LDR equivalent doses, respectively. Interstitial brachytherapy should be considered for patients with disease that cannot be optimally encompassed by intracavitary brachytherapy. While recognizing that many efficacious HDR fractionation schedules exist, some suggested dose and fractionation schemes for combining the EBRT with HDR brachytherapy for each stage of disease are presented. These recommendations are intended only as guidelines, and the suggested fractionation schemes have not been thoroughly tested. The responsibility for the medical decisions ultimately rests with the treating radiation oncologist. Guidelines are established for HDR brachytherapy for cervical cancer. Practitioners and cooperative groups are encouraged to use these guidelines to formulate their treatment and dose-reporting policies. These guidelines will be modified, as image-based treatment becomes more widely available.

                Author and article information

                J Contemp Brachytherapy
                J Contemp Brachytherapy
                Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
                Termedia Publishing House
                30 March 2012
                March 2012
                : 4
                : 1
                : 52-59
                [1 ]Medical Physics Department, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth, PO6 3LY, UK
                [2 ]Department of Physics, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Science, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Antony Palmer, MSc, BSc, Medical Physics Department (Radiotherapy Physics), F-Level, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, PO6 3LY, UK. e-mail: antony.palmer@
                Copyright © 2012 Termedia

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Paper

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                brachytherapy, cervix cancer, high dose-rate (hdr), treatment plan, co-60


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