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Dosimetric comparison of three different treatment modalities for total scalp irradiation: the conventional lateral photon–electron technique, helical tomotherapy, and volumetric-modulated arc therapy

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      The aim of this study was to compare lateral photon–electron (LPE), helical tomotherapy (HT), and volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans for total scalp irradiation. We selected a single adult model case and compared the dosimetric results for the three plans. All plans mainly used 6-MV photon beams, and the prescription dose was 60 Gy in 30 fractions. First, we compared the LPE, HT and VMAT plans, with all plans including a 1-cm bolus. We also compared HT plans with and without the bolus. The conformity indices for LPE, HT and VMAT were 1.73, 1.35 and 1.49, respectively. The HT plan showed the best conformity and the LPE plan showed the worst. However, the plans had similar homogeneity indexes. The dose to the hippocampus was the highest in the VMAT plan, with a mean of 6.7 Gy, compared with 3.5 Gy in the LPE plan and 4.8 Gy in the HT plan. The doses to the optical structures were all within the clinically acceptable range. The beam-on time and monitor units were highest in the HT plan. The HT plans with and without a bolus showed similar target coverage and organ-at-risk (OAR) sparing. The HT plan showed the best target coverage and conformity, with low doses to the brain and hippocampus. This plan also had the advantage of not necessarily requiring a bolus. Although the VMAT plan showed better conformity than the LPE plan and acceptable OAR sparing, the dose to the hippocampus should be considered when high doses are prescribed.

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      Volumetric modulated arc therapy: IMRT in a single gantry arc.

      In this work a novel plan optimization platform is presented where treatment is delivered efficiently and accurately in a single dynamically modulated arc. Improvements in patient care achieved through image-guided positioning and plan adaptation have resulted in an increase in overall treatment times. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has also increased treatment time by requiring a larger number of beam directions, increased monitor units (MU), and, in the case of tomotherapy, a slice-by-slice delivery. In order to maintain a similar level of patient throughput it will be necessary to increase the efficiency of treatment delivery. The solution proposed here is a novel aperture-based algorithm for treatment plan optimization where dose is delivered during a single gantry arc of up to 360 deg. The technique is similar to tomotherapy in that a full 360 deg of beam directions are available for optimization but is fundamentally different in that the entire dose volume is delivered in a single source rotation. The new technique is referred to as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT). Multileaf collimator (MLC) leaf motion and number of MU per degree of gantry rotation is restricted during the optimization so that gantry rotation speed, leaf translation speed, and dose rate maxima do not excessively limit the delivery efficiency. During planning, investigators model continuous gantry motion by a coarse sampling of static gantry positions and fluence maps or MLC aperture shapes. The technique presented here is unique in that gantry and MLC position sampling is progressively increased throughout the optimization. Using the full gantry range will theoretically provide increased flexibility in generating highly conformal treatment plans. In practice, the additional flexibility is somewhat negated by the additional constraints placed on the amount of MLC leaf motion between gantry samples. A series of studies are performed that characterize the relationship between gantry and MLC sampling, dose modeling accuracy, and optimization time. Results show that gantry angle and MLC sample spacing as low as 1 deg and 0.5 cm, respectively, is desirable for accurate dose modeling. It is also shown that reducing the sample spacing dramatically reduces the ability of the optimization to arrive at a solution. The competing benefits of having small and large sample spacing are mutually realized using the progressive sampling technique described here. Preliminary results show that plans generated with VMAT optimization exhibit dose distributions equivalent or superior to static gantry IMRT. Timing studies have shown that the VMAT technique is well suited for on-line verification and adaptation with delivery times that are reduced to approximately 1.5-3 min for a 200 cGy fraction.
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        Extreme sensitivity of adult neurogenesis to low doses of X-irradiation.

        Therapeutic irradiation of the brain is associated with a number of adverse effects, including cognitive impairment. Although the pathogenesis of radiation-induced cognitive injury is unknown, it may involve loss of neural precursor cells from the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampal dentate gyrus and alterations in new cell production (neurogenesis). Young adult male C57BL mice received whole brain irradiation, and 6-48 h later, hippocampal tissue was assessed using immunohistochemistry for detection of apoptosis and numbers of proliferating cells and immature neurons. Apoptosis peaked 12 h after irradiation, and its extent was dose dependent. Forty-eight h after irradiation, proliferating SGZ cells were reduced by 93-96%; immature neurons were decreased from 40 to 60% in a dose-dependent fashion. To determine whether acute cell sensitivity translated into long-term changes, we quantified neurogenesis 2 months after irradiation with 0, 2, 5, or 10 Gy. Multiple injections of BrdUrd were given to label proliferating cells, and 3 weeks later, confocal microscopy was used to determine the percentage of BrdUrd-labeled cells that showed mature cell phenotypes. The production of new neurons was significantly reduced by X-rays; that change was dose dependent. In contrast, there were no apparent effects on the production of new astrocytes or oligodendrocytes. Measures of activated microglia indicated that changes in neurogenesis were associated with a significant inflammatory response. Given the known effects of radiation on cognitive function and the relationship between hippocampal neurogenesis and associated memory formation, our data suggest that precursor cell radiation response and altered neurogenesis may play a contributory if not causative role in radiation-induced cognitive impairment.
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          A conformation number to quantify the degree of conformality in brachytherapy and external beam irradiation: application to the prostate.

          This article presents a method of quantitative assessment of the degree of conformality and its designation by a single numerical value. A conformation number is introduced to evaluate objectively the degree of conformality. A comparison is made between the conformation number as found for external beam treatment plans and ultrasonically guided 125I seed implants for localized prostate cancer. The conformation number in case of a planning target volume irradiated with two opposed open beams, three open beams, and three beams with customized blocks amounted to 0.17, 0.39, and 0.65, respectively. The conformation number as found for ultrasonically guided permanent prostate implants using 125I seeds averaged 0.72. The conformation number is a convenient instrument for indicating the degree of conformality by a single numerical value. Treatments with a conformation number greater than 0.60 might be termed conformal radiotherapy.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Seoul St. Mary's hospital , College of Medicine , The Catholic University of Korea , Seoul, Korea
            [2 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Incheon St. Mary's hospital , College of Medicine , The Catholic University of Korea , Seoul, Korea
            [3 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Yeouido St. Mary's Hospital , College of Medicine , The Catholic University of Korea , Seoul, Korea
            [4 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Cheju Halla General Hospital , Jeju, Korea
            Author notes
            [* ]Corresponding author. Department of Radiation Oncology, Incheon St. Mary's hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 665-8, Bupyeong-dong, Bupyeong-gu, Incheon 403-720, Korea. Tel: +82-32-280-6017; Fax: +82-32-280-6100; Email: sonshyun@
            J Radiat Res
            J. Radiat. Res
            Journal of Radiation Research
            Oxford University Press
            July 2015
            13 June 2014
            13 June 2014
            : 56
            : 4
            : 717-726
            © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Japan Radiation Research Society and Japanese Society for Radiation Oncology.

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



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