Indexed on: 26 Nov '09Published on: 26 Nov '09Published in: Medical Dosimetry
Helical tomotherapy uses different planning algorithm and dose delivery method from the linear accelerator (linac)-based intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). This study compared the dosimetric outcomes between the tomotherapy plans and conventional linac-based IMRT plans in the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Fifteen stage II-III cancer (American Joint Committee on Cancer) NPC patients treated by tomotherapy were conveniently recruited. Apart from the tomotherapy plans, a 7-field 6-MV photon conventional IMRT plan was computed for each patient with the same CT dataset and reference from the dose constraints and target dose prescriptions of the tomotherapy plans using the XiO treatment planning system. Average values of the dose parameters including the conformity index (CI), homogeneity index (HI), maximum and minimum doses of the target volumes, and the maximum and mean doses of the organs at risk (OAR) were compared between the two treatment methods. Better dose coverage of the planning target volume (PTV) was demonstrated in the tomotherapy plans, in which the differences in the maximum and mean doses reached statistical significance (p < 0.05). Besides, the CI of the tomotherapy plans were significantly higher than the conventional linac-based plans for the nasopharynx PTV (NP-PTV) and neck lymphatics PTV (LN-PTV) (p = 0.017 and 0.010, respectively). The HI was significantly smaller in both NP-PTV and LN-PTV (p = 0.024 and < 0.001, respectively). Among the OAR, the brain stem and spinal cord doses in the tomotherapy plans were lower than that of the conventional IMRT plans. However, the doses to the other OAR did not show significant dosimetric differences. In the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, tomotherapy plans were superior to the 7-field conventional IMRT plans in PTV dose conformity and homogeneity and the sparing of the brain stem and spinal cord. However, no significant advantages were observed for the rest of the OAR.