Research Article| Volume 44, ISSUE 3, P258-265, September 2019

A novel dynamic arc treatment planning solution to reduce dose to small bowel in preoperative radiotherapy for rectal cancer

Published:October 22, 2018DOI:


      Preoperative radiotherapy or combined chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) can cause acute and late gastrointestinal (GI) side-effects. There is thought to be a dose-volume relationship between small bowel irradiation and the development of these effects. A planning study was undertaken to compare small bowel sparing for a range of 3D conformal and dynamic arc planning solutions. A planning study was carried out for 20 LARC patients. Organs at risk (OAR) contoured included bowel loops and peritoneal space (PS). For each of the 20 patients, 5 plans were created: (1) standard 3D conformal plan; (2) standard dual dynamic arc plan; (3) dual dynamic arc plan with 90° avoidance sector through the anterior portion of the patient; (4) dual dynamic arc plan with an anterior avoidance structure in the optimizer; (5) dual dynamic arc plan with both an anterior avoidance structure and an avoidance sector. The prescription was 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions to the planning target volume (PTV). Five Dose Volume Levels (DVLs; V15 Gy, V20 Gy, V25 Gy, V35 Gy, V40 Gy, and V50.4 Gy) for bowel and PS were selected. The DVLs were compared between the plans using Friedman Tests and Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests. Comparison of the 5 plans revealed that a dual dynamic arc plan containing both an anterior avoidance sector and structure significantly improved the dose to the bowel compared to a standard 3D conformal plan and to a standard dual dynamic arc plan. This improvement was achieved while maintaining PTV coverage. This novel dual dynamic arc planning technique that uses both an avoidance sector and structure reduces the dose to the bowel and PS, which may lead to a reduction in GI toxicity.
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