VMAT partial arc technique decreases dose to organs at risk in whole pelvic radiotherapy for prostate cancer when compared to full arc VMAT and IMRT

Published:October 29, 2022DOI:


      Whole pelvic radiotherapy (WPRT) can sterilize microscopic lymph node metastases in treatment of prostate cancer. WPRT, compared to prostate only radiotherapy (PORT), is associated with increased acute gastrointestinal, and hematological toxicities. To further explore minimizing normal tissue toxicities associated with WPRT in definitive IMRT for prostate cancer, this planning study compared dosimetric differences between static 9-field-IMRT, full arc VMAT, and mixed partial-full arc VMAT techniques. In this retrospective study, 12 prostate cancer patients who met the criteria for WPRT were randomly selected for this study. The initial volume, PTV46, included the prostate, seminal vesicles, and pelvic nodes with margin and was prescribed to 4600 cGy. The cone-down volume, PTV78, included the prostate and proximal seminal vesicles with margin to a total dose of 7800 cGy. For each CT image set, 3 plans were generated for each of the PTVs: an IMRT plan, a full arc (FA) VMAT plan, and a mixed partial-full arc (PFA) VMAT plan, using 6MV photons energy. According to RTOG protocols none of the plans had a major Conformity Index (CI) violation by any of the 3 planning techniques. PFA plan had the best mean CI index of 1.00 and significantly better than IMRT (p = 0.03) and FA (p = 0.007). For equivalent PTV coverage, the average composite gradient index of the PFA plans was better than the IMRT and the FA plans with values 1.92, 2.03, and 2.01 respectively. The defference was statistically significant between PFA/IMRT and PFA/FA, with p- values of < 0.001. The IMRT plans and the PFA plans provided very similar doses to the rectum, bladder, sigmoid colon, and femoral heads, which were lower than the dose in the FA plans. There was a significant decrease in the mean dose to the rectum from 4524 cGy with the FA to 4182 cGy with the PFA and 4091 cGy with IMRT (p < 0.001). The percent of rectum receiving 4000 cGy was also the highest with FA at 66.1% compared to 49.9% (PFA) and 47.5% (IMRT). There was a significant decrease in the mean dose to the bladder from 3922 cGy (FA) to 3551 cGy (PFA) and 3612 cGy (IMRT) (p < 0.001). The percent of bladder receiving 4000 cGy was also the highest with FA at 45.4% compared to 36.6% (PFA) and 37.4% (IMRT). The average mean dose to the sigmoid colon decreased from 4177 cGy (FA) to 3893 cGy (PFA) and 3819 cGy (IMRT). The average mean dose to the femoral heads decreased from 2091 cGy (FA) to 2026 cGy (PFA) and 1987 cGy (IMRT). Considering the improvement in plan quality indices recorded in this study including the dose gradient and the dose to organs at risk, mixed partial-full arc plans may be the preferred VMAT treatment technique over full arc plans for prostate cancer treatments that include nodal volumes.


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