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RapidArc, SmartArc and TomoHD compared with classical step and shoot and sliding window intensity modulated radiotherapy in an oropharyngeal cancer treatment plan comparison

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      BackroundRadiotherapy techniques have evolved rapidly over the last decade with the introduction of Intensity Modulated RadioTherapy (IMRT) in different forms. It is not clear which of the IMRT techniques is superior in the treatment of head and neck cancer patients in terms of coverage of the planning target volumes (PTVs), sparing the organs at risk (OARs), dose to the normal tissue, number of monitor units needed and delivery time.The present paper aims to compare Step and Shoot (SS) IMRT, Sliding Window (SW) IMRT, RapidArc (RA) planned with Eclipse, Elekta VMAT planned with SmartArc (SA) and helical TomoHDTM (HT).MethodsTarget volumes and organs at risk (OARs) of five patients with oropharyngeal cancer were delineated on contrast enhanced CT-scans, then treatment plans were generated on five different IMRT systems. In 32 fractions, 69.12 Gy and 56 Gy were planned to the therapeutic and prophylactic PTVs, respectively. For the PTVs and 26 OARs ICRU 83 reporting guidelines were followed. Differences in the studied parameters between treatment planning systems were analysed using repeated measures ANOVA.ResultsMean Homogeneity Index of PTVtherapeutic is better with HT(.06) followed by SA(.08), RA(.10), SW(.10) and SS(.11). PTVprophylactic is most homogeneous with RA. Parotid glands prescribed mean doses are only obtained by SA and HT, 20.6 Gy and 21.7 Gy for the contralateral and 25.6 Gy and 24.1 Gy for the ipsilateral, against 25.6 Gy and 32.0 Gy for RA, 26.4 Gy and 34.6 Gy for SW, and 28.2 Gy and 34.0 Gy for SS. RA uses the least monitor units, HT the most. Treatment times are 3.05 min for RA, and 5.9 min for SA and HT.ConclusionsIn the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer, we consider rotational IMRT techniques preferable to fixed gantry techniques due to faster fraction delivery and better sparing of OARs without a higher integral dose. TomoHD gives most homogeneous target coverage with more sparing of spinal cord, brainstem, parotids and the lower swallowing apparatus than most of the other systems. Between RA and SA, SA gives a more homogeneous PTVtherapeutic while sparing the parotids more, but the delivery of RA is twice as fast with less overdose to the PTVelective.

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      Meta-analysis of chemotherapy in head and neck cancer (MACH-NC): an update on 93 randomised trials and 17,346 patients.

      Our previous individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis showed that chemotherapy improved survival in patients curatively treated for non-metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), with a higher benefit with concomitant chemotherapy. However the heterogeneity of the results limited the conclusions and prompted us to confirm the results on a more complete database by adding the randomised trials conducted between 1994 and 2000. The updated IPD meta-analysis included trials comparing loco-regional treatment to loco-regional treatment+chemotherapy in HNSCC patients and conducted between 1965 and 2000. The log-rank-test, stratified by trial, was used to compare treatments. The hazard ratios of death were calculated. Twenty-four new trials, most of them of concomitant chemotherapy, were included with a total of 87 trials and 16,485 patients. The hazard ratio of death was 0.88 (p<0.0001) with an absolute benefit for chemotherapy of 4.5% at 5 years, and a significant interaction (p<0.0001) between chemotherapy timing (adjuvant, induction or concomitant) and treatment. Both direct (6 trials) and indirect comparisons showed a more pronounced benefit of the concomitant chemotherapy as compared to induction chemotherapy. For the 50 concomitant trials, the hazard ratio was 0.81 (p<0.0001) and the absolute benefit 6.5% at 5 years. There was a decreasing effect of chemotherapy with age (p=0.003, test for trend). The benefit of concomitant chemotherapy was confirmed and was greater than the benefit of induction chemotherapy.
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        Parotid-sparing intensity modulated versus conventional radiotherapy in head and neck cancer (PARSPORT): a phase 3 multicentre randomised controlled trial

        Summary Background Xerostomia is the most common late side-effect of radiotherapy to the head and neck. Compared with conventional radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can reduce irradiation of the parotid glands. We assessed the hypothesis that parotid-sparing IMRT reduces the incidence of severe xerostomia. Methods We undertook a randomised controlled trial between Jan 21, 2003, and Dec 7, 2007, that compared conventional radiotherapy (control) with parotid-sparing IMRT. We randomly assigned patients with histologically confirmed pharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma (T1–4, N0–3, M0) at six UK radiotherapy centres between the two radiotherapy techniques (1:1 ratio). A dose of 60 or 65 Gy was prescribed in 30 daily fractions given Monday to Friday. Treatment was not masked. Randomisation was by computer-generated permuted blocks and was stratified by centre and tumour site. Our primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with grade 2 or worse xerostomia at 12 months, as assessed by the Late Effects of Normal Tissue (LENT SOMA) scale. Analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis, with all patients who had assessments included. Long-term follow-up of patients is ongoing. This study is registered with the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial register, number ISRCTN48243537. Findings 47 patients were assigned to each treatment arm. Median follow-up was 44·0 months (IQR 30·0–59·7). Six patients from each group died before 12 months and seven patients from the conventional radiotherapy and two from the IMRT group were not assessed at 12 months. At 12 months xerostomia side-effects were reported in 73 of 82 alive patients; grade 2 or worse xerostomia at 12 months was significantly lower in the IMRT group than in the conventional radiotherapy group (25 [74%; 95% CI 56–87] of 34 patients given conventional radiotherapy vs 15 [38%; 23–55] of 39 given IMRT, p=0·0027). The only recorded acute adverse event of grade 2 or worse that differed significantly between the treatment groups was fatigue, which was more prevalent in the IMRT group (18 [41%; 99% CI 23–61] of 44 patients given conventional radiotherapy vs 35 [74%; 55–89] of 47 given IMRT, p=0·0015). At 24 months, grade 2 or worse xerostomia was significantly less common with IMRT than with conventional radiotherapy (20 [83%; 95% CI 63–95] of 24 patients given conventional radiotherapy vs nine [29%; 14–48] of 31 given IMRT; p<0·0001). At 12 and 24 months, significant benefits were seen in recovery of saliva secretion with IMRT compared with conventional radiotherapy, as were clinically significant improvements in dry-mouth-specific and global quality of life scores. At 24 months, no significant differences were seen between randomised groups in non-xerostomia late toxicities, locoregional control, or overall survival. Interpretation Sparing the parotid glands with IMRT significantly reduces the incidence of xerostomia and leads to recovery of saliva secretion and improvements in associated quality of life, and thus strongly supports a role for IMRT in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Funding Cancer Research UK (CRUK/03/005).
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          Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, protons, and the risk of second cancers.

           Daniel Hall (2006)
          Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) allows dose to be concentrated in the tumor volume while sparing normal tissues. However, the downside to IMRT is the potential to increase the number of radiation-induced second cancers. The reasons for this potential are more monitor units and, therefore, a larger total-body dose because of leakage radiation and, because IMRT involves more fields, a bigger volume of normal tissue is exposed to lower radiation doses. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy may double the incidence of solid cancers in long-term survivors. This outcome may be acceptable in older patients if balanced by an improvement in local tumor control and reduced acute toxicity. On the other hand, the incidence of second cancers is much higher in children, so that doubling it may not be acceptable. IMRT represents a special case for children for three reasons. First, children are more sensitive to radiation-induced cancer than are adults. Second, radiation scattered from the treatment volume is more important in the small body of the child. Third, the question of genetic susceptibility arises because many childhood cancers involve a germline mutation. The levels of leakage radiation in current Linacs are not inevitable. Leakage can be reduced but at substantial cost. An alternative strategy is to replace X-rays with protons. However, this change is only an advantage if the proton machine employs a pencil scanning beam. Many proton facilities use passive modulation to produce a field of sufficient size, but the use of a scattering foil produces neutrons, which results in an effective dose to the patient higher than that characteristic of IMRT. The benefit of protons is only achieved if a scanning beam is used in which the doses are 10 times lower than with IMRT.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Radiotherapy, University Radiotherapy department Antwerp – UZA / ZNA, Lindendreef 1, 2020, Antwerp, Belgium
            [2 ]Department of Radiotherapy, The Netherlands Cancer Institute – Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
            [3 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Leuvens Kankerinstituut, Leuven, Belgium
            [4 ]Department of Nuclear Medicine, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium
            [5 ]Department of Medical Oncology, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium
            [6 ]Radiation Oncology Department & Centre for Molecular Imaging and Experimental Radiotherapy, St-Luc University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium
            Radiat Oncol
            Radiat Oncol
            Radiation Oncology (London, England)
            BioMed Central
            20 February 2013
            : 8
            : 37
            Copyright ©2013 Van Gestel et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


            Oncology & Radiotherapy

            imrt, head-and-neck cancer, dosimetrical comparison


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