BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) is expected to result in clinical benefits by lowering radiation dose to organs-at-risk (OARs). However, there are concerns about plan robustness due to motion. To address this uncertainty we evaluated the robustness of IMPT compared to the widely clinically used volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) on weekly repeated computed tomographies (CT).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: 19 patients with oesophageal cancer were evaluated. IMPT and VMAT plans were created on a planning 4-Dimensional CT (p4DCT) and evaluated on weekly repeated 4DCTs (r4DCT). In case of inadequate target coverage or unacceptable high dose to normal tissue, re-planning was performed. Dose distributions of the r4DCTs were warped to p4DCT, resulting in an estimated actual given dose (EAGD).
RESULTS: Compared to VMAT, IMPT resulted in significantly lowered dose to heart, lungs, spleen, liver and kidneys. For IMPT, target coverage was adequate (after max 1 replanning) in 17/19 cases. In two cases target coverage remained insufficient. However, in one of these patients the summed dose was insufficient (due to tumor shrinkage) while weekly coverage was adequate. For the other patient the target coverage was also insufficient by VMAT, due to large anatomical changes during treatment. For VMAT, adequate target coverage was achieved in 18/19 cases without re-planning. However, for reasons of high OAR dose re-planning was required in two cases.
CONCLUSION: IMPT reduces the dose to OARs significantly, while achieving adequate target coverage in the majority of patients. Re-planning was necessary for both IMPT and VMAT due to anatomical changes.