Objective: To investigate the impact of including fluorine-18 fludeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) scanning in the planning of paediatric radiotherapy (RT). Methods: Target volumes were first delineated without and subsequently re-delineated with access to 18F-FDG PET scan information, on duplicate CT sets. RT plans were generated for three-dimensional conformal photon RT (3DCRT) and intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT). The results were evaluated by comparison of target volumes, target dose coverage parameters, normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) and estimated risk of secondary cancer (SC). Results: Considerable deviations between CT-and PET/CT-guided target volumes were seen in 3 out of the 11 patients studied. However, averaging over the whole cohort, CT or PET/CT guidance introduced no significant difference in the shape or size of the target volumes, target dose coverage, irradiated volumes, estimated NTCP or SC risk, neither for IMPT nor 3DCRT. Conclusion: Our results imply that the inclusion of PET/CT scans in the RT planning process could have considerable impact for individual patients. There were no general trends of increasing or decreasing irradiated volumes, suggesting that the long-term morbidity of RT in childhood would on average remain largely unaffected. Advances in knowledge: 18F-FDG PET-based RT planning does not systematically change NTCP or SC risk for paediatric cancer patients compared with CT only. 3 out of 11 patients had a distinct change of target volumes when PET-guided planning was introduced. Dice and mismatch metrics are not sufficient to assess the consequences of target volume differences in the context of RT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging