Spot scanning proton arc therapy reduces toxicity in oropharyngeal cancer patients

Bas A. De Jong*, Cecilia Battinelli, Jeffrey Free, Dirk Wagenaar, Erik Engwall, Guillaume Janssens, J.A. Langendijk, Erik Korevaar, Stefan Both

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

12 Citaten (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Proton arc technology has recently shown dosimetric gains for various treatment indications. The increased number of beams and energy layers (ELs) in proton arc plans, increases the degrees of freedom in plan optimization and thereby flexibility to spare dose in organs at risk (OARs). A relationship exists between dosimetric plan quality, delivery efficiency, the number of ELs -and beams in a proton arc plan.

Purpose: This work aims to investigate the effect of the number of beams and ELs in a proton arc plan, on toxicity and delivery time for oropharyngeal cancer patients (OPC) selected for intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) based on the Dutch model-based approach.

Methods: The EL reduction algorithm iteratively selects ELs from beams equidistantly spaced over a 360° arc. The beams in the final plan may contain multiple ELs, making them suited for static delivery on the studied treatment machine. The produced plans can therefore be called "step and shoot" proton arc plans. The number of beams and ELs were varied to determine the relationship with the planning cost function value, normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) and delivery time. Proton arc plans with robust target coverage and optimal energy layer reduction (ELR) settings to reduce NTCP, were generated for 10 OPC patients. Proton arc plans were compared to clinical volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and IMPT plans in terms of integral dose, OAR dose, NTCP for xerostomia and dysphagia and delivery time. Furthermore, dose-weighted average linear energy transfer (LETd ) distributions were compared between the IMPT and proton arc plans. A dry run delivery of a plan containing 20 beams and 360 ELs was performed to evaluate delivery time and accuracy.

Results: We found 360 ELs distributed over 30 beams generated proton arc plans with near minimal expected plan toxicity. Relative to corresponding IMPT and VMAT plans, an average reduction of 21 ± 3% and 58 ± 10% in integral dose was observed. Dmean was reduced most in the pharyngeal constrictor muscle (PCM) medius structure, with on average 9.0 ± 4.2 Gy(RBE) (p=0.0002) compared to the clinical IMPT plans. The average NTCP for grade⩾2 and grade⩾3 xerostomia at six months after treatment significantly decreased with 4.7 ± 1.8% (p = 0.002) and 1.7 ± 0.8% (p=0.002), respectively, while the average NTCP for grade⩾2 and grade⩾3 dysphagia decreased with 4.4 ± 2.9% (p=0.002) and 0.9 ± 0.4% (p=0.002), respectively, increasing the benefit of protons relative to VMAT. For a "step and shoot" proton arc delivery with auto beam sequencing the estimated delivery time is 11 min, similar to the delivery time of a 6-field IMPT treatment. Gamma analysis between the planned and delivered dose distribution resulted in a 99.99% pass rate using 1mm/1% dose difference/distance to agreement criteria.

Conclusions: "Step and shoot" proton arc demonstrates potential to further reduce toxicity compared to IMPT and VMAT in OPC treatment. By employing 360 ELs and 30 beams in the proposed ELR method, delivery time can reach clinically acceptable levels without compromising plan toxicity when automatic beam sequencing is available.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1305-1317
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftMedical Physics
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - mrt.-2023

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