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Proton Treatment Techniques for Posterior Fossa Tumors: Consequences for LET and Dose/Volume Parameters for the Brainstem and Organs at Risk

D Giantsoudi

D Giantsoudi*, J Adams , S MacDonald , H Paganetti , Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA


SU-F-T-206 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose:In proton radiation therapy of posterior fossa tumors, to spare other sensitive structures, the preferred beam geometry results in placing the treatment field distal edge within or just beyond the brainstem, including in at least partially in the treatment volume. Concerns for brainstem toxicity are increased and a controversy exists as to weather the beam’s distal edge should be placed within the brainstem or beyond it, to avoid elevated linear energy transfer (LET) and relative biological effectiveness (RBE) within the brainstem. The dosimetric efficacy of these techniques was examined, accounting for LET- and dose-dependent variable RBE distributions.

Methods:Three treatment planning techniques were applied in six ependymoma cases: (a) three-field dose-sparing, with beams’ distal edge within the brainstem; (b) three-field LET-sparing, using same beam directions as (a) but extended field ranges beyond the brainstem; (c) two-posterior-oblique LET-sparing, with extended ranges as (b). Monte Carlo calculated dose, LET and RBE-weighted dose distributions were compared.

Results:Lower LET values in the brainstem were accompanied by higher median dose: 53.7 Gy[RBE] and 54.3 Gy[RBE] for techniques (b) and (c) versus 52.1 Gy[RBE] for (a). Accounting for variable RBE, a 15% increase of the brainstem volume receiving at least 60 Gy[RBE] was observed for technique (c) versus (a). Maximum variable-RBE-weighted brainstem dose was comparable for all techniques.

Conclusion:Extending the treatment beam range beyond the brainstem, significantly increased its volume receiving high dose radiation, even when accounting for the decreased LET values. The dosimetric benefits of techniques limiting the brainstem dose may outweigh the impact of LET reduction achieved through this technique, especially since clinical consequences of increased LET at the end of range have not been proven yet.

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