Purpose: To evaluate composite coplanar and non-coplanar three-dimensional conformal techniques (3D-CRT) for external-beam prostate radiotherapy using a low-energy (6 MV) photon beam.
Methods and Materials: For treatment-planning purposes, three different planning target volumes (PTV) were defined for ten patients with prostate cancer and as follows: PTV1 (pelvis), PTV2 (prostate + seminal vesicles + 1 cm margin) and PTV3 (prostate + 1 cm margin). Conformal techniques of 2, 3, 4, 5 (coplanar) and 6 (non-coplanar) field techniques have been considered and combined to produce five different plan combinations (i.e. techniques A, B, C, D and E). Treatment plans were generated with a prescription dose of 75 Gy to PTV3, 65 Gy to PTV2 and 45 Gy to PTV1 and were assessed on the basis of 3D dose distributions and dose-volume histograms (DVHs). Normal tissue-dose constraints for the relevant organs at risk (OARs), that is, rectum, bladder and femoral heads, were also considered.
Results: Findings show that all five treatment-plan combinations result in adequate PTV coverage and acceptable OAR irradiated volumes. The greatest rectal spacing in the high-dose region is achieved by technique C; all techniques achieve this, except for technique A, and give approximately the same fraction of volume (of rectum) that receives a dose of 50 Gy (V50) and 60 Gy (V60). When considering the bladder, techniques B, D and E give the best bladder sparing with small absolute differences, whereas technique A results in the lowest dose for femoral heads. Technique E appears to give the best compromise for all three considered OARs, provided the PTV is adequately covered.
Conclusions: Even though the optimum photon-beam energy for conformal prostate radiotherapy is greater than 10 MV, our study shows that a good sparing of OAR can be achieved even with a lower-energy beam (6 MV) and the appropriate plan combination and that the dose to prostate can be as high as 75 Gy.