Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), an extension of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), employs modifications in gantry rotation speed, machine dose rate and multi-leaf collimator motion to deliver a three-dimensional dose distribution. This study compared VMAT to IMRT for patients with anal carcinoma.
Sixteen patients previously treated with IMRT were retrospectively selected. Each patient received a total dose of 57·6–63·0 Gy in 1·8 Gy fractions. A single- or double-isocenter multi-arc VMAT treatment plan was generated using Eclipse RapidArc system with the same computed tomography image sets and optimisation constraints used for IMRT. Dose–volume histograms (DVHs) for planning target volumes (PTVs) and organs at risk (OARs), and monitor units (MUs) and beam on times (BOTs) were used for comparison.
IMRT and VMAT plans showed insignificant differences in PTV homogeneity and conformity and sparing hips and bowel. VMAT required fewer mean MU and shorter BOT per plan (1,597 MU, 2·66 min) compared to IMRT (2,571 MU, 4·29 min) with p < 0·0001.
Fewer MU and shorter BOT for VMAT may decrease the damage from secondary radiation and treatment delivery uncertainty due to intra-fraction tumour motion, leading to higher machine throughput and improving patient comfort, with less treatment time.