28 February 2018
Background: The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility of volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients by comparing the physical dosimetry, delivery efficiency and clinical outcomes with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
Methods: A prospective matched study was performed for patients with newly diagnosed NPC who underwent VMAT or IMRT. The patients in two groups were equally matched in terms of gender, age, tumor stage and chemotherapy. The target coverage, homogeneity index (HI) and conformity index (CI) of the planning target volume (PTV), organs at risk (OARs) sparing, average treatment time and clinical outcomes were analyzed.
Results: From June 2013 to August 2015, a total of 80 patients were enrolled in this study, with 40 patients in each group. The coverage of PTV was similar for both groups. D2 was observed slight difference only in early stage disease (T1-2) (VMAT vs. IMRT, 7494±109 cGy vs. 7564±92 cGy; p=0.06). The HI of VMAT group was better than that of IMRT group (p=0.001), whereas CI was slightly worse (p=0.061). The maximum doses received by the brain stem, spinal cord, and optic nerve of VMAT were higher than those of IMRT (p<0.05). But the irradiation volumes in healthy tissue were generally lower for VMAT group, with significant differences in V20, V25 and V45 (p<0.05). With regard to the delivery efficiency compared with IMRT (1160 ± 204s), a 69% reduction in treatment time was achieved by VMAT (363 ± 162s). Both groups had 5 cases of nasopharyngeal residual lesions after radiotherapy. The 2-year estimated local relapse-free survival, regional relapse-free survival and locoregional relapse-free survival, distant metastasis-free survival, disease-free survival and overall survival were similar between two groups, with the corresponding rates of 100%, 97.4%, 97.4%, 90.0%, 90.0% and 92.4% in VMAT group, and 100%, 100%, 100%, 95.0%, 95.0% and 97.5% in IMRT group, respectively.
Conclusions: Both VMAT and IMRT can meet the clinical requirements for the treatment of NPC. The short-term tumor regression rates and 2-year survival rates with the two techniques are comparable. The faster treatment time benefits of VMAT will enable more patients to receive precision radiotherapy.