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Radiation therapy (RT) remains a common and effective treatment modality for patients with locally advanced prostate cancer. Technological advancements over the past decade have resulted in the introduction of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) planning and delivery techniques that maximise the dose of radiation delivered to the prostate while sparing organs at risk (OAR). A more recent and evolving IMRT technique, called volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT), involves a continuous irradiation at a constant or variable dose rate when the gantry rotates around the prostate using one or more arcs.
Materials and methods
This paper reports on a dosimetric evaluation of our implementation of VMAT technique for prostate cancer treatment. A retrospective analysis of VMAT plans was performed for 300 prostate cancer patients treated during the period of January 2013 to December 2014. Two prescription cohorts of patients treated to a dose of 78 Gy in 39 fractions as the primary radiation therapy treatment (XRT) and 66 Gy in 33 fractions as a post-op or salvage XRT were considered.
The mean and maximal doses, dose inhomogeneities and conformity indexes for the planning target volumes were evaluated for each prescription cohort of patients. Similarly, the doses to OAR such as rectum, bladder and femoral heads were also assessed for various dose levels.
This study shows that highly conformal radiation dose distribution for the treatment of prostate cancer is achievable with the VMAT technique. It provides evidence to support the adoption of such conformal technology in many disease sites such as the prostate. We believe that our experience reported here could help form the foundation for individual institutions to evaluate and develop the most suitable planning criteria tailored to their own needs and priority. This endeavour hopefully will provide further improvement in the planning process and, therefore, help achieve an effective and efficient delivery of radiotherapy for prostate cancer.
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