Purpose: To quantify the radiobiological advantages obtained by an Improved Forward Planning technique (IFP) and two IMRT techniques using different fractionation schemes for the irradiation of head and neck tumours. The conventional radiation therapy technique (CONVT) was used here as a benchmark. Methods: Seven patients with head and neck tumours were selected for this retrospective planning study. The PTV1 included the primary tumour, PTV2 the high risk lymph nodes and PTV3 the low risk lymph nodes. Except for the conventional technique where a maximum dose of 64.8 Gy was prescribed to the PTV1, 70.2 Gy, 59.4 Gy and 50.4 Gy were prescribed respectively to PTV1, PTV2 and PTV3. Except for IMRT2, all techniques were delivered by three sequential phases. The IFP technique used five to seven directions with a total of 15 to 21 beams. The IMRT techniques used five to nine directions and around 80 segments. The first, IMRT1, was prescribed with the conventional fractionation scheme of 1.8 Gy per fraction delivered in 39 fractions by three treatment phases. The second, IMRT2, simultaneously irradiated the PTV2 and PTV3 with 59.4 Gy and 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions, respectively, while the PTV1 was boosted with six subsequent fractions of 1.8 Gy. Tissue response was calculated using the relative seriality model and the Poisson Linear-Quadratic-Time model to simulate repopulation in the primary tumour. Results: The average probability of total tumour control increased from 38% with CONVT to 80% with IFP, to 85% with IMRT1 and 89% with IMRT2. The shorter treatment time and larger dose per fraction obtained with IMRT2 resulted in an 11% increase in the probability of control in the PTV1 with respect to IFP and 7% relatively to IMRT1 (p < 0.05). The average probability of total patient complications was reduced from 80% with CONVT to 61% with IFP and 31% with IMRT. The corresponding probability of complications in the ipsilateral parotid was 63%, 42% and 20%; in the contralateral parotid it was 50%, 20% and 9%; in the oral cavity it was 2%, 15% and 4% and in the mandible it was 1%, 5% and 3%, respectively. Conclusions: A significant improvement in treatment outcome was obtained with IMRT compared to conventional radiation therapy. The practical and biological advantages of IMRT2, employing a shorter treatment time, may outweigh the small differences obtained in the organs at risk between the two IMRT techniques. This technique is therefore presently being used in the clinic for selected patients with head and neck tumours. A significant improvement in the quality of the dose distribution was obtained with IFP compared to CONVT. Thus, this beam arrangement is used in the clinical routine as an alternative to IMRT.
2010. Vol. 5, 57- p.
INTENSITY-MODULATED RADIOTHERAPY; SIMULTANEOUS INTEGRATED BOOST; SQUAMOUS-CELL CARCINOMA; RADIATION-THERAPY; NASOPHARYNGEAL CARCINOMA; NORMAL-TISSUE; CONVENTIONAL RADIOTHERAPY; CANCER-PATIENTS; DOSE-RESPONSE; IRRADIATION