Conventional 3D conformal versus intensity-modulated radiotherapy for the adjuvant treatment of gynecologic malignancies: A comparative dosimetric study of dose-volume histograms

D. E. Heron, K. Gerszten, R. N. Selvaraj, G. C. King, D. Sonnik, H. Gallion, J. Comerci, R. P. Edwards, A. Wu, R. S. Andrade, S. Kalnicki

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Objectives. The goals of this study were to evaluate the feasibility of pelvic intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in the adjuvant treatment of gynecologic malignancies and to compare the dose-volume histograms (DVHs) and determine the potential impact on acute and long-term toxicity based on the dose to target and nontarget tissues for both planning techniques. Methods. Ten consecutive patients referred for adjuvant radiotherapy for gynecologic malignancies at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Magee-Womens Hospital were selected for CT-based treatment planning using the ADAC 3D version 4.2g and the NOMOS Corvus IMRT version 4.0. Normal tissues and critical structures were contoured on axial CT slices by both systems in conjunction with a gynecologic radiologist. These regions included internal, external, and common iliac nodal groups, rectum, upper 4 cm of vagina, bladder, and small bowel. Conventional treatment planning included 3D four-field box using 18-MV photons designed to treat a volume from the L5/S 1 border superiorly to the bottom of the ischial tuberosity on the AP/PA field and shaped blocks on the lateral fields to minimize the dose to the rectum and small bowel. A seven-field technique using 6-MV photons was used for IMRT. Restraints on small bowel for IMRT were set at 23.0 Gy ± 5% and 35.0 Gy± 5% for the rectum and 37.5 Gy ± 5% for the bladder while simultaneously delivering full dose (45.0 Gy) to the intrapelvic nodal groups in 1.8-Gy daily fractions. The dose-volume histograms where then compared for both treatment delivery systems. Results. The volume of each organ of interest (small bowel, bladder, and rectum) receiving doses in excess of 30 Gy was compared in the 3D and IMRT treatment plans. The mean volume of small bowel receiving doses in excess of 30 Gy was reduced by 52% with IMRT compared with 3D. A similar advantage was noted for the rectum (66% reduction) and the bladder (36% reduction). The nodal regions at risk and the upper vagina all received the prescribed dose of 45.0 Gy. Conclusions. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy appears to offer several advantages over conventional 3D radiotherapy (3D CRT) planning for adjuvant radiotherapy for gynecologic malignancies. These include a significant reduction in treatment volume for bladder, rectum, and small bowel. It is anticipated that this reduction in volume of normal tissue irradiated would translate into overall reduction in acute and potentially late treatment-related toxicity. Prospective trials are necessary to better evaluate the advantages in a larger group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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