FCCC LOGO Faculty Publications
Wang L , Yorke E , Desobry G , Chui CS
Dosimetric advantage of using 6 MV over 15 MV photons in conformal therapy of lung cancer: Monte Carlo studies in patient geometries
J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2002 Winter;3(1) :51-9
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Many lung cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are treated with higher energy photons (15-18 MV) to obtain deeper penetration and better dose uniformity. However, the longer range of the higher energy recoil electrons in the low-density medium may cause lateral electronic disequilibrium and degrade the target coverage. To compare the dose homogeneity achieved with lower versus higher energy photon beams, we performed a dosimetric study of 6 and 15 MV three-dimensional (3D) conformal treatment plans for lung cancer using an accurate, patient-specific dose-calculation method based on a Monte Carlo technique. A 6 and 15 MV 3D conformal treatment plan was generated for each of two patients with target volumes exceeding 200 cm(3) on an in-house treatment planning system in routine clinical use. Each plan employed four conformally shaped photon beams. Each dose distribution was recalculated with the Monte Carlo method, utilizing the same beam geometry and patient-specific computed tomography (CT) images. Treatment plans using the two energies were compared in terms of their isodose distributions and dose-volume histograms (DVHs). The 15 MV dose distributions and DVHs generated by the clinical treatment planning calculations were as good as, or slightly better than, those generated for 6 MV beams. However, the Monte Carlo dose calculation predicted increased penumbra width with increased photon energy resulting in decreased lateral dose homogeneity for the 15 MV plans. Monte Carlo calculations showed that all target coverage indicators were significantly worse for 15 MV than for 6 MV; particularly the portion of the planning target volume (PTV) receiving at least 95% of the prescription dose (V(95)) dropped dramatically for the 15 MV plan in comparison to the 6 MV. Spinal cord and lung doses were clinically equivalent for the two energies. In treatment planning of tumors that abut lung tissue, lower energy (6 MV) photon beams should be preferred over higher energies (15-18 MV) because of the significant loss of lateral dose equilibrium for high-energy beams in the low-density medium. Any gains in radial dose uniformity across steep density gradients for higher energy beams must be weighed carefully against the lateral beam degradation due to penumbra widening.
21676592 1526-9914 Journal Article