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In those receiving radiotherapy for pelvic cancers, up to 80% develop gastrointestinal symptoms, with dietary interventions recommended to reduce these symptoms. However, research outlining the current dietary support provided to patients undergoing radiotherapy for pelvic cancer is lacking.
To identify the gastrointestinal symptoms experienced by those undergoing pelvic radiotherapy and to identify the dietary support provided to these patients.
Methods and materials
A service evaluation was undertaken in one NHS Trust hospital whereby patients undergoing radical pelvic radiotherapy during a 15-week recruitment period were invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling and the data were analysed descriptively using SPSS.
In total, 31 patients responded achieving a response rate of 48%. The most frequent reported gastrointestinal symptoms were gas and flatulence followed by diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal pain. The main dietary changes implemented by the respondents and recommended by health care professionals included reducing fibre intake, reducing certain vegetables, reducing caffeine and increasing water.
The results illustrate the impact of gastrointestinal side effects on patients’ dietary intake. The results highlight that nutritional guidance need to be standardised, especially for the management of diarrhoea and gas and flatulence as these were the most common occurring side effects. With radiographers most frequently giving nutritional advice they must be provided with guidance to support those undergoing pelvic radiotherapy.
To investigate the dosimetric advantage of quasi-continuous couch motion-enabled trajectory modulated arc radiotherapy therapy (TMAT) over the coplanar tangential partial arcs volumetric modulated arc radiotherapy (VMAT) for treating left breast and chest wall patients.
Treatment plans of 43 patients who received radiotherapy for left breast (17) or for left chest wall (26) using coplanar partial tangential arcs VMAT (reference plan) were considered for this study. For each patient, in addition to the treatment plan, a TMAT plan was also generated using quasi-continuous couch rotation. The TMAT plan consisted of original two 30° tangential arc beams and two supplementary beams having a couch rotation of ±10°, ±20° and ±30°, respectively. The difference in PTV volume coverage (PTV V95%) between TMAT plan and VMAT plan was calculated for all the cases and normalised to the plan’s prescription dose. Similarly, differences in PTV_V105% and several dose-volume parameters related to organs at risk (OAR) were also computed and tabulated.
TMAT shows an increment in the PTV dose coverage V95% with respect to reference plan by 4·7±2·5% when averaged overall prescription dose levels. Mean PTV dose (averaged overall prescription levels) for reference and TMAT plan was 4638·6±423·8 and 4793·5±447·2 cGy, respectively, and statistically insignificant (p=0·06). However mean PTV_V105% values for TMAT and for reference plans were 6·7±4·8 and 7·2±5·2%, respectively, and were not statistically different (p=0·85). Mean heart dose in TMAT was less than in VMAT plans, but not significantly. As regarding D1% to heart, TMAT plan was again found to be better with a mean difference of 137·1 cGy over VMAT plan. Other parameters evaluated were: mean dose and D1% to contralateral breast, and V20 Gy and V5 Gy for lung.
TMAT plans were found to be better than VMAT plans in terms of PTV coverage and D1% for heart. For evaluated dose parameters apart from PTV coverage and D1% to the heart, no significant differences were observed. Thus, TMAT plans yielded better dose distribution in terms of PTV dose coverage, hot spots and OAR doses.
This retrospective study aimed to report clinical outcomes of high-dose rate brachytherapy (HDR-BT) and whole pelvic radiation therapy (WPRT) in intermediate- to high-risk localised prostate cancer and to gain a better understanding of how behavioural variability of patients from various ethnic origins affects clinical practice.
Materials and methods
In total, 116 localised intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer patients who were treated during 2004–12 were enroled into the study. WPRT was delivered to the full pelvis (50 Gy per conventional fractionation) and two fractions (15 Gy per fraction) of high-dose rate brachytherapy were designed for all patients to the peripheral zone of McNeal. The reported results were biochemical control rate, toxicity profiles and behavioural variations of patients.
The median follow-up time was 51 months. The 4-year biochemical control rates, according to the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology was 93·1%. T stage was the prognostic factor for biochemical control. No significant differences in biochemical control could be identified across ethnic groups (p>0·05). Five patients developed grade 3–4 gastrointestinal toxicity. Prior knowledge was commonly found among Caucasian patients and urinary functions seemed to be more concerned among Caucasian and Middle East patients than those from other ethnic origins.
Clinical outcomes of intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer patients from various ethnic origins were comparable with that of the Caucasian-only population reported previously. A number of detected ethnic-related factors might be beneficial for treatment decision-making for patients with different cultural background and could be utilised to better personalise/optimise cancer care and aftercare.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a treatment option for patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer who are medically inoperable or decline surgery. Here we compare the outcome of patients with centrally located lung tumours who underwent either single fraction (SF)- or five-fraction (FF-) SBRT at a single institution over 5 years.
Between January 2009 and October 2014, patients with centrally located lung tumours who underwent SBRT were included in this study. Data were retrospectively collected using an institutional review board-approved database. For analysis, the Kaplan–Meier method and competing risks method were used.
In total, 11 patients received 26–30 Gy in 1 fraction, whereas 31 patients received 50–60 Gy (median 55 Gy) in 5 fractions. After a median follow-up of 12 months for SF-SBRT and 17 months for FF-SBRT groups (p=0·64), 1-year overall survival rates were 82 and 87%, respectively. SF- and FF-SBRT groups showed no significant difference in grade 3+ toxicity (p=0·28). The only grade 4 toxicity (n=1) was reported in the SF-SBRT group. All toxicities occurred >12 months after the SBRT.
SF- and FF-SBRT have comparable overall survival. SF-SBRT may have some utility for patients unable to have multi-fraction SBRT.
In radiotherapy planning, computed tomography (CT) images are used to calculate the dose in the patient. However, a high density hip prosthesis can cause streaking artefacts in CT images, which make dose calculations for nearby organs inaccurate. This study aim to quantify the impact of a hip prosthesis on 6 MV photon beam dose distribution using the Monte Carlo (MC) simulation. To quantify the radiation dose at the hip prosthesis accurately, image processing techniques were used to generate CT images free from streak artefacts. MATLAB software was used to produce computer-generated phantoms consisting of bone, titanium, stainless steel and CoCrMo. Percentage depth dose (PDD) and beam profile were used to analyse the impact of the hip prosthesis on the dose distribution of the photon beam. PDD showed that the absorbed dose was reduced as the density of the material increased, and the dose was reduced by as much as 49% when the photon beam struck the highest density material (CoCrMo, 8·2g/cm3). However, dose was increased at the tissue-hip prosthesis interface (depths of 4 and 19cm). As the depth increased, the absorbed dose decreased due to attenuation of photons by the tissue and the metal.
The aim of this study is to develop predictive models to predict organ at risk (OAR) complication level, classification of OAR dose-volume and combination of this function with our in-house developed treatment decision support system.
Materials and methods
We analysed the support vector machine and decision tree algorithm for predicting OAR complication level and toxicity in order to integrate this function into our in-house radiation treatment planning decision support system. A total of 12 TomoTherapyTM treatment plans for prostate cancer were established, and a hundred modelled plans were generated to analyse the toxicity prediction for bladder and rectum.
The toxicity prediction algorithm analysis showed 91·0% accuracy in the training process. A scatter plot for bladder and rectum was obtained by 100 modelled plans and classification result derived. OAR complication level was analysed and risk factor for 25% bladder and 50% rectum was detected by decision tree. Therefore, it was shown that complication prediction of patients using big data-based clinical information is possible.
We verified the accuracy of the tested algorithm using prostate cancer cases. Side effects can be minimised by applying this predictive modelling algorithm with the planning decision support system for patient-specific radiotherapy planning.
To perform a retrospective analysis of survival, local–regional control and the effect of prognostic factors in 61 non-small cell lung cancer patients who were treated with postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) by a linear accelerator (LINAC).
Material and methods
A total of 50–66 Gy PORT with a fractional dose of 1·8–2 Gy was administered to 24 patients (24·5%) for surgical margin positivity, 33 patients (54%) for mediastinal lymph node involvement and 13 patients (21·5%) for both mediastinal lymph node involvement and positive surgical margins.
Median follow-up was 17 months, and the median survival and median distant metastasis-free survival were 25 and 19 months, respectively. Local-regional progression was observed in 10 patients (16·4%). Treatment modality (2D/3D) (p=0·021), tumour size >4 cm (p=0·004), surgical margin positivity (p=0·001), and left lung localisation of the tumour (p≤0·05) were the prognostic factors in terms of survival.
A survey of the literature shows that, without PORT, local recurrence or progression rates increase while overall survival rates decrease. In this study, only patients with PORT are studied and the results show that the local progression and overall survival rates are comparable with literature of LINAC-based PORT. In the case of overall survival, 3D treatment shows better results than 2D treatment modality.
This is a dosimetric study to compare the feasibility of carotid artery sparing as a primary objective, as well as planning target volume coverage and dose to spinal cord as a secondary objective, by using 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for patients with early glottis cancer.
Patients and methods
Six patients who had been treated for early stage glottic carcinoma (stage T1-2 N0M0) were included in this study. All patients were immobilised in the supine position with a thermoplastic mask and treatment planning computed tomography scans were obtained from the top of the skull to the top of aortic arch with a 3-mm slice thickness. Two plans were created for every patient, one using 3DCRT and the second using IMRT. Comparison between the two plans was undertaken and analysis was made regarding the dose to the carotids arteries, target coverage and doses to the organs at risk.
For target coverage, the V95% for both plans was the same with no significant difference, hot spots were the highest in 3DCRT with p=0·002, the homogeneity index for IMRT plan was better than 3DCRT (p=0·0001). Regarding the dose to the carotids, it was significantly lower in the IMRT plan compared with the 3DCRT plan (p=0·01). The spinal cord dose was significantly higher in the IMRT plan.
IMRT significantly reduces the radiation dose to the carotid arteries compared with 3DCRT while maintaining clinical target volume coverage. Such a results assists in decreasing the incidence of radiation-induced carotid stenosis, thus improving the quality of life for patients.
The aim of this paper is to compare neural induced changes in three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) versus intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) for nasopharyngeal cancers.
Materials and methods
Radiotherapy plans for 10 patients with nasopharyngeal cancer stages III and IV were prospectively developed for 3D-CRT, IMRT and VMAT using Varian Eclipse planning system. The same radiation therapist carried out all planning and the same clinical dosimetric constraints were used. Normal tissue complication probabilities were calculated.
The mean planning target volume’s (PTVs) conformity index (CI) for 3D-CRT was 1·424, for IMRT 1·1, and for VMAT 1·081. The PTV homogeneity (HI) index was 0·204 for 3D-CRT, 0·124 for IMRT and 0·153 for VMAT. Normal tissue complication probabilities gave complex results for 3D-CRT, IMRT and VMAT and are analysed in detail in this paper. The mean monitor units were 95 (range 9–180) for 3D-CRT; 165 (range 52–277) for IMRT; and 331 (range 167–494) for VMAT (p<0·05).
VMAT is associated with similar dosimetric advantages as IMRT over 3D-CRT for nasopharyngeal cancer. VMAT is associated with faster delivery times and greater number of mean monitor units than IMRT. Brain radionecrosis severity and risk, in the past, have been underestimated. By improving the life expectancy of patients with nasopharyngeal cancer to ensure maintenance of the neural structures, recommended dose limits should be considered as a first degree priority (as the spinal cord, brainstem, etc.) when IMRT and VMAT plans are implemented.
Radiation oncology information systems (OIS) play a crucial role in radiation therapy by ensuring accurate and safe delivery of treatment. A MOSAIQ OIS system is currently used to support undergraduate radiation therapist training at Queensland University of Technology. This review addresses the rationale for implementation and integration in teaching environments and explores the pedagogical benefits supported by educational theory.
A review of MOSAIQ functionality shows potential to transform learning through the development of authentic and engaging learning tasks. It provides students with an opportunity to learn two-dimensional image matching through the use of digitally reconstructed radiographs and electronic portal images as well as three-dimensional image matching using computed tomography (CBCT) data in a safe learning environment without clinical time pressures. In addition, this provides the students with knowledge of quality assurance (QA) checks through the verification of treatment parameters and the transfer of information from the planning system to the treatment units. However, there are several potential challenges and practical considerations that need to be overcome.
The application of MOSAIQ OIS could potentially transform teaching and learning strategies for student radiation therapists. Increased knowledge and hands-on skills at undergraduate levels in areas such as image matching and QA can be powerful tools to drive the standards of practice a step further.
Patient involvement in health profession student training is becoming more common and includes clinical case studies, informing curriculum development and active teaching in dedicated patient experience sessions. Despite a growing evidence base supporting patient involvement, there is little published data concerning motivation for involvement. A qualitative study was performed to provide narrative relating to patient experiences in expert patient sessions on an undergraduate radiation therapy course.
A phenomenological approach utilised semi-structured interviews with two expert patients from different backgrounds. A common set of questions were used for each participant. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed before thematic coding.
Both participants identified areas of similarity as well as key difference in their experiences. Both had different levels of public speaking experience as well as different levels of knowledge relating to radiation therapy treatment. Both found the initial session emotional but ultimately enjoyed the process and found it cathartic.
The patients enjoyed this experience and identified clear value of the teaching for themselves and the students. Previous public speaking or clinical experience seemed to have limited impact on patient experience and suggested the vulnerability of the situation. Both had different perspectives of their fellow patients and their role in the healthcare partnership. These findings indicate the value of ensuring students have access to a range of perspectives from different patients.
Accupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (ALTENS) therapy has been shown in prospective studies to be effective in the treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia. Those studies treated patients within 27 months from end of radiation with ALTENS delivered in the clinic using a Codetron unit. However, that unit is no longer produced and there is limited data on success of ALTENS when delivered at home.
A 50-year old man with xerostomia, 8 years post-radiation for T4N1 squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsillar fossa, was given ALTENS with a currently commercially available unit from Girish Surgical. He used the unit at home, 20 minutes daily for 8 weeks.
After 8 weeks of ALTENS therapy the patient saw a reduction in the Self-Reported University of Michigan Xerostomia-Related Quality of Life Scale from 20 to 1.
This case report demonstrates (1) the Girish Surgical unit is effective, (2) self-administration of ALTENS in patients who cannot come to clinic regularly may be practical and (3) ALTENS can still offer durable benefit to patients even 8 years after chemoradiation therapy.