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The aim of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of physical exercise in managing fatigue during radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients. It explores the impact of various physical exercise regimes and their role in the prevention and management of fatigue to help inform best practice.
A literature search was conducted on OVID Medline database with a follow-up search on google scholar to include relevant references found during the initial search. Relevant systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) arising from this search were reviewed.
There is evidence to support the notion that physical exercise in all its forms is an effective and safe intervention for fatigue management for prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Although widely studied, there is limited evidence of fatigue management strategies being clearly implemented into current radiotherapy practice for patients with prostate cancer. This information is essential to enable therapeutic radiographers to educate prostate cancer patients regarding effective exercise strategies and ensure that fatigue is managed optimally.
Further research is required into the optimum physical exercise prescription to reduce radiation-induced fatigue, and standardised best practice guidelines should be developed nationally. A future move toward patient education into physical exercise and wellbeing should be a central component of the therapeutic radiographer role with specialist advice offered by review radiographers, empowering patients to become more physically active during treatment. Therapeutic radiographers have a unique opportunity to educate and promote physical exercise through a holistic wellbeing approach that aims to mitigate fatigue and improve quality of life.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is indispensable for treatment planning in prostate radiotherapy (PR). Registration of MRI when compared to planning CT (pCT) is prone to uncertainty and this is rarely reported. In this study, we have compared three different types of registration methods to justify the direct use of MRI in PR.
Methods and materials:
Thirty patients treated for PR were retrospectively selected for this study and all underwent both CT and MRI. The MR scans were registered to the pCT using markers, focused and unfocussed methods and their registration are REGM, REGF, and REGNF, respectively. Registration comparison is done using the translational differences of three axes from the centre-of-mass values of gross tumour volume (GTV) generated using MRI.
The average difference in all three axes (x, y, z) is (1, 2·5, 2·3 mm) and (1, 3, 2·3 mm) for REGF-REFNF and REGF-REGM, respectively. MR-based GTV Volume is less in comparison to CT-based GTV and it is significantly different (p < 0·001).
Image registration uncertainty is unavoidable for a regular CT–MR workflow. Additional planning target volume margin ranging from 2 to 3mm could be avoided if MR-only workflow is employed. This reduction in the margin is beneficial for small tumours treated with hypofractionation.
Dose distribution index (DDI) is a treatment planning evaluation parameter, reflecting dosimetric information of target coverage that can help to spare organs at risk (OARs) and remaining volume at risk (RVR). The index has been used to evaluate and compare prostate volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans using two different plan optimisers, namely photon optimisation (PO) and its predecessor, progressive resolution optimisation (PRO).
Materials and methods:
Twenty prostate VMAT treatment plans were created using the PO and PRO in this retrospective study. The 6 MV photon beams and a dose prescription of 78 Gy/39 fractions were used in plans with the same dose–volume criteria for plan optimisation. Dose–volume histograms (DVHs) of the planning target volume (PTV), as well as of OARs such as the rectum, bladder, left and right femur were determined in each plan. DDIs were calculated and compared for plans created by the PO and PRO based on DVHs of the PTV and all OARs.
The mean DDI values were 0·784 and 0·810 for prostate VMAT plans created by the PO and PRO, respectively. It was found that the DDI of the PRO plan was about 3·3% larger than the PO plan, which means that the dose distribution of the target coverage and sparing of OARs in the PRO plan was slightly better. Changing the weighting factors in different OARs would vary the DDI value by ∼7%. However, for plan comparison based on the same set of dose–volume criteria, the effect of weighting factor can be neglected because they were the same in the PO and PRO.
Based on the very similar DDI values calculated from the PO and PRO plans, with the DDI value in the PRO plan slightly larger than that of the PO, it may be concluded that the PRO can create a prostate VMAT plan with slightly better dose distribution regarding the target coverage and sparing of OARs. Moreover, we found that the DDI is a simple and comprehensive dose–volume parameter for plan evaluation considering the target, OARs and RVR.
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