Journal of Medical Physics
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 45  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 206-214

The role of plan robustness evaluation in comparing protons and photons plans - An application on IMPT and IMRT plans in skull base chordomas

1 Department of Medical Physics, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Proton Therapy, Azienda Provinciale Per I Servizi Sanitari, Trento, Italy
3 Department of Proton Therapy, Azienda Provinciale Per I Servizi Sanitari; TIFPA - INFN, Trento, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Manthala Padannayil Noufal
Department of Medical Physics, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, 100 Feet Road Tharamani, Chennai - 400 053, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmp.JMP_45_20

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Purpose: To analyze robustness of treatment plans optimized using different approaches in intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) and investigate the necessity of robust optimization and evaluation in intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) plans for skull base chordomas. Materials and Methods: Two photon plans, standard IMRT and robustly optimized IMRT (RB-IMRT), and two IMPT plans, robustly optimized multi field optimization (MFO) and hybrid-MFO (HB-MFO), were created in RayStation TPS for five patients previously treated using single field uniform optimization (SFO). Both set-up and range uncertainties were incorporated during robust optimization of IMPT plans whereas only set-up uncertainty was used in RB-IMRT. The dosimetric outcomes from the five planning techniques were compared for every patient using standard dose volume indices and integral dose (ID) estimated for target and organs at risk (OARs). Robustness of each treatment plan was assessed by introducing set-up uncertainties of ±3 mm along the three translational axes and, only in protons, an additional range uncertainty of ±3.5%. Results: All the five nominal plans provided comparable and clinically acceptable target coverage. In comparison to nominal plans, worst case decrease in D95% of clinical target volume-high risk (CTV-HR) were 11.1%, 13.5%, and 13.6% for SFO, MFO, and HB-MFO plans respectively. The corresponding values were 13.7% for standard IMRT which improved to 11.5% for RB-IMRT. The worst case increased in high dose (D1%) to CTV-HR was highest in IMRT (2.1%) and lowest in SFO (0.7%) plans. Moreover, IMRT showed worst case increases in D1% for all neurological OARs and were lowest for SFO plans. The worst case D1% for brainstem, chiasm, spinal cord, optic nerves, and temporal lobes were increased by 29%, 41%, 30%, 41% and 14% for IMRT and 18%, 21%, 21%, 24%, and 7% for SFO plans, respectively. In comparison to IMRT, RB-IMRT improved D1% of all neurological OARs ranging from 5% to 14% in worst case scenarios. Conclusion: Based on the five cases presented in the current study, all proton planning techniques (SFO, MFO and HB-MFO) were robust both for target coverage and OARs sparing. Standard IMRT plans were less robust than proton plans in regards to high doses to neurological OARs. However, robust optimization applied to IMRT resulted in improved robustness in both target coverage and high doses to OARs. Robustness evaluation may be considered as a part of plan evaluation procedure even in IMRT.

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