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Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer and other diseases with high energy (ionising) radiation. Ionising radiation damages or destroys cells in the area being treated making it impossible for the cancer cells to continue to grow and multiply. Most radiotherapy is delivered from the outside of the body (external beam radiotherapy) usually in the form of high energy X-rays or sometimes as Gamma rays. For certain cancers a radioactive implant can be placed next to the tumour inside the body (internal radiotherapy). As radiotherapy can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells there can be potential side effects, these may depend on the radiotherapy dose, site(s) of treatment, age and other factors.

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Overviews - What is Radiotherapy?
Recent Research
Radiation Oncology (medical specialty)
Specialist Journals

Overviews - What is Radiotherapy? (8 links)

Recent Research

Zhang L, Mei X, Chen X, et al.
Estimating cardiac substructures exposure from diverse radiotherapy techniques in treating left-sided breast cancer.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2015; 94(18):e847 [PubMed] Related Publications
The study compares the physical and biologically effective doses (BED) received by the heart and cardiac substructures using three-dimensional conformal RT (3D-CRT), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), and simple IMRT (s-IMRT) in postoperative radiotherapy for patients with left-sided breast cancer. From October 2008 to February 2009, 14 patients with histologically confirmed left-sided breast cancer were enrolled and underwent contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) simulation and 18F-FDG positron emission tomography-CT to outline the left cardiac ventricle (LV) and other substructures. The linear-quadratic model was used to convert the physical doses received by critical points of inner heart to BED.The maximal dose, minimum dose, dose received by 99% of volume (D99) and dose received by 95% of volume (D95) in target areas were significantly better using IMRT and s-IMRT when compared with 3D-CRT (P < 0.05). IMRT and s-IMRT significantly reduced the maximal cardiac dose (5038.98 vs 5346.47 cGy, P = 0.002; 5146.66 vs 5346.47 cGy, P = 0.03). IMRT reduced the maximal dose to LV by 4% (P = 0.05) in comparison with 3D-CRT. The average doses to heart and LV in 3D-CRT plan were significantly lower than those in IMRT plan (P < 0.05). The average cardiac volumes receiving ≥25 Gy (V25 Gy) in IMRT, s-IMRT, and 3D-CRT plans were 73.98, 76.75, and 60.34 cm, respectively. The average LV volumes receiving ≥25 Gy (V25 Gy) in IMRT, s-IMRT and 3D-CRT plans were 23.37, 24.68, and 17.61 cm, respectively. In the IMRT plan, the mean BED to the critical points of inner heart located within the high physical dose area were substantially lower than in 3D-CRT or s-IMRT.Compared with 3D-CRT technique, IMRT and s-IMRT had superior target dose coverage and dose uniformity. IMRT significantly reduced the maximal RT dose to heart and LV. IMRT and s-IMRT techniques did not reduce the volume of heart and LV receiving high doses.

Chi F, Wu S, Zhou J, et al.
Dosimetric comparison of moderate deep inspiration breath-hold and free-breathing intensity-modulated radiotherapy for left-sided breast cancer.
Cancer Radiother. 2015; 19(3):180-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: This study determined the dosimetric comparison of moderate deep inspiration breath-hold using active breathing control and free-breathing intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) after breast-conserving surgery for left-sided breast cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty-one patients were enrolled. One free breathe and two moderate deep inspiration breath-hold images were obtained. A field-in-field-IMRT free-breathing plan and two field-in-field-IMRT moderate deep inspiration breath-holding plans were compared in the dosimetry to target volume coverage of the glandular breast tissue and organs at risks for each patient.
RESULTS: The breath-holding time under moderate deep inspiration extended significantly after breathing training (P<0.05). There was no significant difference between the free-breathing and moderate deep inspiration breath-holding in the target volume coverage. The volume of the ipsilateral lung in the free-breathing technique were significantly smaller than the moderate deep inspiration breath-holding techniques (P<0.05); however, there was no significant difference between the two moderate deep inspiration breath-holding plans. There were no significant differences in target volume coverage between the three plans for the field-in-field-IMRT (all P>0.05). The dose to ipsilateral lung, coronary artery and heart in the field-in-field-IMRT were significantly lower for the free-breathing plan than for the two moderate deep inspiration breath-holding plans (all P<0.05); however, there was no significant difference between the two moderate deep inspiration breath-holding plans.
CONCLUSION: The whole-breast field-in-field-IMRT under moderate deep inspiration breath-hold with active breathing control after breast-conserving surgery in left-sided breast cancer can reduce the irradiation volume and dose to organs at risks. There are no significant differences between various moderate deep inspiration breath-holding states in the dosimetry of irradiation to the field-in-field-IMRT target volume coverage and organs at risks.

Moore KL, Schmidt R, Moiseenko V, et al.
Quantifying Unnecessary Normal Tissue Complication Risks due to Suboptimal Planning: A Secondary Study of RTOG 0126.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 92(2):228-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to quantify the frequency and clinical severity of quality deficiencies in intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) planning in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 0126 protocol.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: A total of 219 IMRT patients from the high-dose arm (79.2 Gy) of RTOG 0126 were analyzed. To quantify plan quality, we used established knowledge-based methods for patient-specific dose-volume histogram (DVH) prediction of organs at risk and a Lyman-Kutcher-Burman (LKB) model for grade ≥2 rectal complications to convert DVHs into normal tissue complication probabilities (NTCPs). The LKB model was validated by fitting dose-response parameters relative to observed toxicities. The 90th percentile (22 of 219) of plans with the lowest excess risk (difference between clinical and model-predicted NTCP) were used to create a model for the presumed best practices in the protocol (pDVH0126,top10%). Applying the resultant model to the entire sample enabled comparisons between DVHs that patients could have received to DVHs they actually received. Excess risk quantified the clinical impact of suboptimal planning. Accuracy of pDVH predictions was validated by replanning 30 of 219 patients (13.7%), including equal numbers of presumed "high-quality," "low-quality," and randomly sampled plans. NTCP-predicted toxicities were compared to adverse events on protocol.
RESULTS: Existing models showed that bladder-sparing variations were less prevalent than rectum quality variations and that increased rectal sparing was not correlated with target metrics (dose received by 98% and 2% of the PTV, respectively). Observed toxicities were consistent with current LKB parameters. Converting DVH and pDVH0126,top10% to rectal NTCPs, we observed 94 of 219 patients (42.9%) with ≥5% excess risk, 20 of 219 patients (9.1%) with ≥10% excess risk, and 2 of 219 patients (0.9%) with ≥15% excess risk. Replanning demonstrated the predicted NTCP reductions while maintaining the volume of the PTV receiving prescription dose. An equivalent sample of high-quality plans showed fewer toxicities than low-quality plans, 6 of 73 versus 10 of 73 respectively, although these differences were not significant (P=.21) due to insufficient statistical power in this retrospective study.
CONCLUSIONS: Plan quality deficiencies in RTOG 0126 exposed patients to substantial excess risk for rectal complications.

Peterson D, Truong PT, Parpia S, et al.
Predictors of adverse cosmetic outcome in the RAPID trial: an exploratory analysis.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 91(5):968-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate factors associated with adverse cosmesis outcome in breast cancer patients randomized to accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) using 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy or whole-breast irradiation in the RAPID (Randomized Trial of Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation) trial.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Subjects were trial participants with nurse-assessed global cosmetic scores at baseline and at 3 years. Adverse cosmesis was defined as a score of fair or poor. Cosmetic deterioration was defined as any adverse change in score from baseline to 3 years. The analysis is based on data from the previously reported interim analysis. Logistic regression models were used to assess the association of risk factors for these outcomes among all patients and those treated with APBI only.
RESULTS: Clinicopathologic characteristics were similar between subjects randomized to APBI (n=569) or whole-breast irradiation (n=539). For all subjects, factors associated with adverse cosmesis at 3 years were older age, central/inner tumor location, breast infection, smoking, seroma volume, breast volume, and use of APBI; factors associated with cosmetic deterioration were smoking, seroma volume, and use of APBI (P<.05). For APBI subjects, tumor location, smoking, age, and seroma volume were associated with adverse cosmesis (P<.05), and smoking was associated with cosmetic deterioration (P=.02). An independent association between the V95/whole-breast volume ratio and adverse cosmesis (P=.28) or cosmetic deterioration (P=.07) was not detected. On further exploration a V95/whole-breast volume ratio <0.15 was associated with a lower risk of cosmetic deterioration (p=.04), but this accounted for only 11% of patients.
CONCLUSION: In the RAPID trial, a number of patient tumor and treatment-related factors, including the use of APBI, were associated with adverse cosmesis and cosmetic deterioration. For patients treated with APBI alone, the high-dose treatment volume was not independently associated with an adverse cosmetic outcome, and a useful clinical threshold could not be identified.

Wortel RC, Incrocci L, Pos FJ, et al.
Acute toxicity after image-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy compared to 3D conformal radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 91(4):737-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Image-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT) allows significant dose reductions to organs at risk in prostate cancer patients. However, clinical data identifying the benefits of IG-IMRT in daily practice are scarce. The purpose of this study was to compare dose distributions to organs at risk and acute gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) toxicity levels of patients treated to 78 Gy with either IG-IMRT or 3D-CRT.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients treated with 3D-CRT (n=215) and IG-IMRT (n=260) receiving 78 Gy in 39 fractions within 2 randomized trials were selected. Dose surface histograms of anorectum, anal canal, and bladder were calculated. Identical toxicity questionnaires were distributed at baseline, prior to fraction 20 and 30 and at 90 days after treatment. Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) grade ≥1, ≥2, and ≥3 endpoints were derived directly from questionnaires. Univariate and multivariate binary logistic regression analyses were applied.
RESULTS: The median volumes receiving 5 to 75 Gy were significantly lower (all P<.001) with IG-IMRT for anorectum, anal canal, and bladder. The mean dose to the anorectum was 34.4 Gy versus 47.3 Gy (P<.001), 23.6 Gy versus 44.6 Gy for the anal canal (P<.001), and 33.1 Gy versus 43.2 Gy for the bladder (P<.001). Significantly lower grade ≥2 toxicity was observed for proctitis, stool frequency ≥6/day, and urinary frequency ≥12/day. IG-IMRT resulted in significantly lower overall RTOG grade ≥2 GI toxicity (29% vs 49%, respectively, P=.002) and overall GU grade ≥2 toxicity (38% vs 48%, respectively, P=.009).
CONCLUSIONS: A clinically meaningful reduction in dose to organs at risk and acute toxicity levels was observed in IG-IMRT patients, as a result of improved technique and tighter margins. Therefore reduced late toxicity levels can be expected as well; additional research is needed to quantify such reductions.

Chapet O, Decullier E, Bin S, et al.
Prostate hypofractionated radiation therapy with injection of hyaluronic acid: acute toxicities in a phase 2 study.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 91(4):730-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Hypofractionated radiation therapy (RT) in prostate cancer can be developed only if the risk of rectal toxicity is controlled. In a multicenter phase 2 trial, hypofractionated irradiation was combined with an injection of hyaluronic acid (HA) to preserve the rectal wall. Tolerance of the injection and acute toxicity rates are reported.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: The study was designed to assess late grade 2 toxicity rates. The results described here correspond to the secondary objectives. Acute toxicity was defined as occurring during RT or within 3 months after RT and graded according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0. HA tolerance was evaluated with a visual analog scale during the injection and 30 minutes after injection and then by use of the Common Terminology Criteria at each visit.
RESULTS: From 2010 to 2012, 36 patients with low-risk to intermediate-risk prostate cancer were included. The HA injection induced a mean pain score of 4.6/10 ± 2.3. Thirty minutes after the injection, 2 patients still reported pain (2/10 and 3/10), which persisted after the intervention. Thirty-three patients experienced at least 1 acute genitourinary toxicity and 20 patients at least 1 acute gastrointestinal toxicity. Grade 2 toxicities were reported for 19 patients with urinary obstruction, frequency, or both and for 1 patient with proctitis. No grade 3 or 4 toxicities were reported. At the 3-month visit, 4 patients described grade 2 obstruction or frequency, and no patients had any grade 2 gastrointestinal toxicities.
CONCLUSIONS: The injection of HA makes it possible to deliver hypofractionated irradiation over 4 weeks with a dose per fraction of > 3 Gy, with limited acute rectal toxicity.

Tribius S, Raguse M, Voigt C, et al.
Residual deficits in quality of life one year after intensity-modulated radiotherapy for patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer: Results of a prospective study.
Strahlenther Onkol. 2015; 191(6):501-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer (LAHNC) undergo life-changing treatments that can seriously affect quality of life (QoL). This prospective study examined the key QoL domains during the first year after intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and identified predictors of these changes in order to improve patient outcomes.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A consecutive series of patients with LAHNC completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire Core module (QLQ-C30) and the HNC-specific QLQ-HN35 before (t0) and at the end (t1) of definitive or adjuvant IMRT, then at 6-8 weeks (t2), 6 months (t3), and 1 year (t4) after IMRT.
RESULTS: Patients (n = 111) completing questionnaires at all five time points were included (baseline response rate: 99%; dropout rate between t0 and t4: 5%). QoL deteriorated in all domains during IMRT and improved slowly during the first year thereafter. Many domains recovered to baseline values after 1 year but problems with smelling and tasting, dry mouth, and sticky saliva remained issues at this time. Increases in problems with sticky saliva were greater after 1 year in patients with definitive versus adjuvant IMRT (F = 3.5, P = 0.05).
CONCLUSION: QoL in patients with LAHNC receiving IMRT takes approximately 1 year to return to baseline; some domains remain compromised after 1 year. Although IMRT aims to maintain function and QoL, patients experience long-term dry mouth and sticky saliva, particularly following definitive IMRT. Patients should be counseled at the start of therapy to reduce disappointment with the pace of recovery.

Korfel A, Thiel E, Martus P, et al.
Randomized phase III study of whole-brain radiotherapy for primary CNS lymphoma.
Neurology. 2015; 84(12):1242-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: This is the final report of a phase III randomized study to evaluate whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) in primary therapy of primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) after a median follow-up of 81.2 months.
METHODS: Patients with newly diagnosed PCNSL were randomized to high-dose methotrexate (HDMTX)-based chemotherapy alone or followed by WBRT. We hypothesized that the omission of WBRT would not compromise overall survival (OS; primary endpoint), using a noninferiority design with a margin of 0.9.
RESULTS: In the per-protocol population (n = 320), WBRT nonsignificantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) (median 18.2 vs 11.9 months, hazard ratio [HR] 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65-1.06], p = 0.14) and significantly PFS from last HDMTX (25.5 vs 12.0 months, HR 0.65 [95% CI 0.5-0.83], p = 0.001), but without OS prolongation (35.6 vs 37.1 months, HR 1.03 [95% CI 0.79-1.35], p = 0.82). In the intent-to-treat population (n = 410), there was a prolongation by WBRT of both PFS (15.4 vs 9.9 months, HR 0.79 [95% CI 0.64-0.98], p = 0.034) and PFS from last HDMTX (19.4 vs 11.9 months, HR 0.72 [95% CI 0.58-0.89], p = 0.003), but not of OS (32.4 vs 36.1 months, HR 0.98 [95% CI 0.79-1.26], p = 0.98).
CONCLUSION: Although the statistical proof of noninferiority regarding OS was not given, our results suggest no worsening of OS without WBRT in primary therapy of PCNSL.
CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class II evidence that in PCNSL HDMTX-based chemotherapy followed by WBRT does not significantly increase survival compared to chemotherapy alone. The study lacked the precision to exclude an important survival benefit or harm from WBRT.

Den RB, Yousefi K, Trabulsi EJ, et al.
Genomic classifier identifies men with adverse pathology after radical prostatectomy who benefit from adjuvant radiation therapy.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(8):944-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The optimal timing of postoperative radiotherapy (RT) after radical prostatectomy (RP) is unclear. We hypothesized that a genomic classifier (GC) would provide prognostic and predictive insight into the development of clinical metastases in men receiving post-RP RT and inform decision making.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: GC scores were calculated from 188 patients with pT3 or margin-positive prostate cancer, who received post-RP RT at Thomas Jefferson University and Mayo Clinic between 1990 and 2009. The primary end point was clinical metastasis. Prognostic accuracy of the models was tested using the concordance index for censored data and decision curve analysis. Cox regression analysis tested the relationship between GC and metastasis.
RESULTS: The cumulative incidence of metastasis at 5 years after RT was 0%, 9%, and 29% for low, average, and high GC scores, respectively (P = .002). In multivariable analysis, GC and pre-RP prostate-specific antigen were independent predictors of metastasis (both P < .01). Within the low GC score (< 0.4), there were no differences in the cumulative incidence of metastasis comparing patients who received adjuvant or salvage RT (P = .79). However, for patients with higher GC scores (≥ 0.4), cumulative incidence of metastasis at 5 years was 6% for patients treated with adjuvant RT compared with 23% for patients treated with salvage RT (P < .01).
CONCLUSION: In patients treated with post-RP RT, GC is prognostic for the development of clinical metastasis beyond routine clinical and pathologic features. Although preliminary, patients with low GC scores are best treated with salvage RT, whereas those with high GC scores benefit from adjuvant therapy. These findings provide the first rational selection of timing for post-RP RT.

Aluwini S, Pos F, Schimmel E, et al.
Hypofractionated versus conventionally fractionated radiotherapy for patients with prostate cancer (HYPRO): acute toxicity results from a randomised non-inferiority phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(3):274-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In 2007, we began the randomised phase 3 multicentre HYPRO trial to investigate the effect of hypofractionated radiotherapy compared with conventionally fractionated radiotherapy on relapse-free survival in patients with prostate cancer. Here, we examine whether patients experience differences in acute gastrointestinal and genitourinary adverse effects.
METHODS: In this randomised non-inferiority phase 3 trial, done in seven radiotherapy centres in the Netherlands, we enrolled intermediate-risk or high-risk patients aged between 44 and 85 years with histologically confirmed stage T1b-T4 NX-0MX-0 prostate cancer, a PSA concentration of 60 ng/mL or lower, and WHO performance status of 0-2. A web-based application was used to randomly assign (1:1) patients to receive either standard fractionation with 39 fractions of 2 Gy in 8 weeks (five fractions per week) or hypofractionation with 19 fractions of 3·4 Gy in 6·5 weeks (three fractions per week). Randomisation was done with minimisation procedure, stratified by treatment centre and risk group. The primary endpoint is 5-year relapse-free survival. Here we report data for the acute toxicity outcomes: the cumulative incidence of grade 2 or worse acute and late genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity. Non-inferiority of hypofractionation was tested separately for genitourinary and gastrointestinal acute toxic effects, with a null hypothesis that cumulative incidences of each type of adverse event were not more than 8% higher in the hypofractionation group than in the standard fractionation group. We scored acute genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxic effects according to RTOG-EORTC criteria from both case report forms and patients' self-assessment questionnaires, at baseline, twice during radiotherapy, and 3 months after completion of radiotherapy. Analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. Patient recruitment has been completed. This study is registered with www.controlled-trials.com, number ISRCTN85138529.
FINDINGS: Between March 19, 2007, and Dec 3, 2010, 820 patients were randomly assigned to treatment with standard fractionation (n=410) or hypofractionation (n=410). 3 months after radiotherapy, 73 (22%) patients in the standard fractionation group and 75 (23%) patients in the hypofractionation group reported grade 2 or worse genitourinary toxicity; grade 2 or worse gastrointestinal toxicity was noted in 43 (13%) patients in the standard fractionation group and in 42 (13%) in the hypofractionation group. Grade 4 acute genitourinary toxicity was reported for two patients, one (<1%) in each group. No grade 4 acute gastrointestinal toxicities were observed. We noted no significant difference in cumulative incidence by 120 days after radiotherapy of grade 2 or worse acute genitourinary toxicity (57·8% [95% CI 52·9-62·7] in the standard fractionation group vs 60·5% (55·8-65·3) in the hypofractionation group; difference 2·7%, 90% CI -2·99 to 8·48; odds ratio [OR] 1·12, 95% CI 0·84-1·49; p=0·43). The cumulative incidence of grade 2 or worse acute gastrointestinal toxicity by 120 days after radiotherapy was higher in patients given hypofractionation (31·2% [95% CI 26·6-35·8] in the standard fractionation group vs 42·0% [37·2-46·9] in the hypofractionation group; difference 10·8%, 90% CI 5·25-16·43; OR 1·6; p=0·0015; non-inferiority not confirmed).
INTERPRETATION: Hypofractionated radiotherapy was not non-inferior to standard fractionated radiotherapy in terms of acute genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity for men with intermediate-risk and high-risk prostate cancer. In fact, the cumulative incidence of grade 2 or worse acute gastrointestinal toxicity was significantly higher in patients given hypofractionation than in those given standard fractionated radiotherapy. Patients remain in follow-up for efficacy endpoints.
FUNDING: The Dutch Cancer Society.

Takahashi W, Nakajima M, Yamamoto N, et al.
A prospective nonrandomized phase I/II study of carbon ion radiotherapy in a favorable subset of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Cancer. 2015; 121(8):1321-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) has become the standard approach for unresectable locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (LA-NSCLC), most patients are not candidates for this treatment because of comorbidities. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of carbon ion radiotherapy (CIRT) in LA-NSCLC patients.
METHODS: Patients with stage IIA to IIIA (UICC 7th edition) LA-NSCLC were enrolled in a sequential phase I/II trial. For a phase I dose escalation study, the total prescribed dose was increased by 4 Gray equivalents (GyE) in 2 steps, from 68 to 72 GyE and then to 76 GyE, using 16 fractions over 4 weeks. After determining the recommended dose, the phase II trial was started in an expanded cohort.
RESULTS: Of the 36 patients treated in phase I, 2 grade 3 adverse events (radiation pneumonitis and tracheoesophageal fistula) were observed in the 76 GyE group. Accordingly, for phase II, the next consecutive 26 patients were treated with 72 GyE, with no grade 3 to 5 toxicities resulting. A total of 62 eligible patients were recruited. The majority of patients (49 of 62) were N0 or N1 patients, and the rest (13 of 62) were single-station N2 patients. The median follow-up period was 25.2 months. The 2-year local control rate (LCR) and overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort were 93.1% and 51.9%, respectively. In particular, patients with cT3-4N0 had an excellent prognosis; the 2-year OS and LCR were 69.3% and 100%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Short-course CIRT monotherapy shows promise as an effective nonsurgical treatment for inoperable LA-NSCLC.

Ferro M, Deodato F, Macchia G, et al.
Short-course radiotherapy in elderly patients with early stage non-melanoma skin cancer: a phase II study.
Cancer Invest. 2015; 33(2):34-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: To evaluate outcome of an accelerated radiotherapy (RT) regimen in elderly patients with an early stage non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC).
METHODS: Total RT dose was 30 Gy in 5 Gy fractions in six consecutive days.
RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were enrolled. Fourteen were aged ≥80 years. Acute skin and observed late toxicity were exclusively of grade 1. Thirty patients showed a complete response (median follow-up 30 months). Two-year actuarial local control was 93.2%. The cosmetic result was mostly judged as good or excellent.
CONCLUSIONS: Short-course RT in elderly NMSC patients produces >90% local control of disease.

Livi L, Meattini I, Marrazzo L, et al.
Accelerated partial breast irradiation using intensity-modulated radiotherapy versus whole breast irradiation: 5-year survival analysis of a phase 3 randomised controlled trial.
Eur J Cancer. 2015; 51(4):451-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) has been introduced as an alternative treatment method for selected patients with early stage breast cancer (BC). Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) has the theoretical advantage of a further increase in dose conformity compared with three-dimensional techniques, with more normal tissue sparing. The aim of this randomised trial is to compare the local recurrence and survival of APBI using the IMRT technique after breast-conserving surgery to conventional whole-breast irradiation (WBI) in early stage BC.
METHODS: This study was performed at the University of Florence (Florence, Italy). Women aged more than 40years affected by early BC, with a maximum pathological tumour size of 25mm, were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either WBI or APBI using IMRT. Patients in the APBI arm received a total dose of 30 Gy to the tumour bed in five daily fractions. The WBI arm received 50Gy in 25 fractions, followed by a boost on the tumour bed of 10Gy in five fractions. The primary end-point was occurrence of ipsilateral breast tumour recurrences (IBTRs); the main analysis was by intention-to-treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02104895.
FINDINGS: A total of 520 patients were randomised (260 to external WBI and 260 to APBI with IMRT) between March 2005 and June 2013. At a median follow-up of 5.0 years (Interquartile Range (IQR) 3.4-7.0), the IBTR rate was 1.5% (three cases) in the APBI group (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.1-3.0) and in the WBI group (three cases; 95% CI 0.0-2.8). No significant difference emerged between the two groups (log rank test p=0.86). We identified seven deaths in the WBI group and only one in the APBI group (p=0.057). The 5-year overall survival was 96.6% for the WBI group and 99.4% for the APBI group. The APBI group presented significantly better results considering acute (p=0.0001), late (p=0.004), and cosmetic outcome (p=0.045).
INTERPRETATION: To our knowledge, this is the first randomised study using the IMRT technique for APBI delivery. No significant difference in terms of IBTR and overall survival was observed between the two arms. APBI displayed a significantly better toxicity profile.

Dolezel M, Odrazka K, Zouhar M, et al.
Comparing morbidity and cancer control after 3D-conformal (70/74 Gy) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (78/82 Gy) for prostate cancer.
Strahlenther Onkol. 2015; 191(4):338-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The purpose of this work was to compare toxicity and cancer control between patients with prostate cancer treated using three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) and those treated using intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
METHODS AND MATERIALS: A total of 553 patients with prostate cancer were treated with 3D-CRT 70-74 Gy (3D-CRT 70, 3D-CRT 74) or IMRT 78-82 Gy (IMRT 78, IMRT/SIB 82). Late toxicity was scored according to FC-RTOG/LENT criteria. Biochemical failure was defined using the Phoenix and ASTRO definitions.
RESULTS: The 5-year risk of grade 2-4 genitourinary toxicity was 26.3 % (3D-CRT 70), 27.2 % (3D-CRT 74), 17.3 % (IMRT 78), and 25.1 % (IMRT/SIB 82) without statistical differences. The 5-year risk of grade 2-4 gastrointestinal toxicity was 19.4 % (3D-CRT 70), 42.1 % (3D-CRT 74), 20.5 % (IMRT 78), and 26.6 % (IMRT/SIB 82). The differences between 3D-CRT 74 and 3D-CRT 70 and between 3D-CRT 74 and IMRT 78 were statistically significant (log rank p = 0.03). The 5-year Phoenix PSA relapse-free survival (PSA-RFS) in low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk patients treated using 3D-CRT were 89.4, 65.5, and 57.8 %, respectively. Patients treated with IMRT achieved the following results: 90.9, 89.4, and 83.9 %. Clinical relapse-free survival (C-RFS) in patients treated using 3D-CRT vs. IMRT for the aforementioned groups were 94.7 vs. 100 %, 86.8 vs. 98.6 %, and 84.4 vs. 94.5 %. Disease-free survival (DFS) for patients treated using 3D-CRT were 83.1, 70.9, and 71.5 %. The IMRT group reached 95.8, 89.1, and 87.6 %. The PSA-RFS for intermediate- and high-risk patients were statistically significant, while C-RFS and DFS were marginally better.
CONCLUSION: Dose escalation with IMRT was associated with improved cancer control in intermediate- and high-risk patients in comparison with 3D-CRT, without compromising toxicity.

Gondi V, Cui Y, Mehta MP, et al.
Real-time pretreatment review limits unacceptable deviations on a cooperative group radiation therapy technique trial: quality assurance results of RTOG 0933.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 91(3):564-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2016 Related Publications
PURPOSE: RTOG 0933 was a phase II trial of hippocampal avoidance during whole brain radiation therapy for patients with brain metastases. The results demonstrated improvement in short-term memory decline, as compared with historical control individuals, and preservation of quality of life. Integral to the conduct of this trial were quality assurance processes inclusive of pre-enrollment credentialing and pretreatment centralized review of enrolled patients.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Before enrolling patients, all treating physicians and sites were required to successfully complete a "dry-run" credentialing test. The treating physicians were credentialed based on accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging-computed tomography image fusion and hippocampal and normal tissue contouring, and the sites were credentialed based on protocol-specified dosimetric criteria. Using the same criteria, pretreatment centralized review of enrolled patients was conducted. Physicians enrolling 3 consecutive patients without unacceptable deviations were permitted to enroll further patients without pretreatment review, although their cases were reviewed after treatment.
RESULTS: In all, 113 physicians and 84 sites were credentialed. Eight physicians (6.8%) failed hippocampal contouring on the first attempt; 3 were approved on the second attempt. Eight sites (9.5%) failed intensity modulated radiation therapy planning on the first attempt; all were approved on the second attempt. One hundred thirteen patients were enrolled in RTOG 0933; 100 were analyzable. Eighty-seven cases were reviewed before treatment; 5 (5.7%) violated the eligibility criteria, and 21 (24%) had unacceptable deviations. With feedback, 18 cases were approved on the second attempt and 2 cases on the third attempt. One patient was treated off protocol. Twenty-two cases were reviewed after treatment; 1 (4.5%) violated the eligibility criteria, and 5 (23%) had unacceptable deviations.
CONCLUSIONS: Although >95% of the cases passed the pre-enrollment credentialing, the pretreatment centralized review disqualified 5.7% of reviewed cases, prevented unacceptable deviations in 24% of reviewed cases, and limited the final unacceptable deviation rate to 5%. Thus, pretreatment review is deemed necessary in future hippocampal avoidance trials and is potentially useful in other similarly challenging radiation therapy technique trials.

Shih HA, Sherman JC, Nachtigall LB, et al.
Proton therapy for low-grade gliomas: Results from a prospective trial.
Cancer. 2015; 121(10):1712-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In this prospective study, the authors evaluated potential treatment toxicity and progression-free survival in patients with low-grade glioma who received treatment with proton radiation therapy.
METHODS: Twenty patients with World Health Organization grade 2 glioma who were eligible for radiation therapy were enrolled in a prospective, single-arm trial of proton therapy. The patients received proton therapy at a dose of 54 Gy (relative biological effectiveness) in 30 fractions. Comprehensive baseline and regular post-treatment evaluations of neurocognitive function, neuroendocrine function, and quality of life (QOL) were performed.
RESULTS: All 20 patients (median age, 37.5 years) tolerated treatment without difficulty. The median follow-up after proton therapy was 5.1 years. At baseline, intellectual functioning was within the normal range for the group and remained stable over time. Visuospatial ability, attention/working memory, and executive functioning also were within normal limits; however, baseline neurocognitive impairments were observed in language, memory, and processing speed in 8 patients. There was no overall decline in cognitive functioning over time. New endocrine dysfunction was detected in 6 patients, and all but 1 had received direct irradiation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. QOL assessment revealed no changes over time. The progression-free survival rate at 3 years was 85%, but it dropped to 40% at 5 years.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with low-grade glioma tolerate proton therapy well, and a subset develops neuroendocrine deficiencies. There is no evidence for overall decline in cognitive function or QOL.

Lee EK, Lee YJ, Jung YS, et al.
Postoperative simultaneous integrated boost-intensity modulated radiation therapy for patients with locoregionally advanced papillary thyroid carcinoma: preliminary results of a phase II trial and propensity score analysis.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; 100(3):1009-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: With recent technical advances in radiotherapy (RT) planning, simultaneous integrated boost intensity modulated radiotherapy (SIB-IMRT) has made possible the delivery of high radiation dose to the tumor, minimizing surrounding normal tissues.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and safety of postoperative SIB-IMRT in patients with locoregionally advanced papillary thyroid cancer (PTC).
DESIGN AND SETTING: This was a propensity score-matched case control study conducted at a tertiary referring center.
PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: This study included locoregionally advanced patients with PTC (pT4 or N1b) who underwent thyroid cancer surgery and radioactive iodine ablation (RIA) followed by postoperative SIB-IMRT (RT group) under a phase II trial or no postoperative RT (Non-RT group) Intervention: Postoperative SIB-IMRT was the intervention.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: locoregional relapse-free survival (LRFS) was compared between RT group and Non-RT group.
RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that several factors, including sex, American Thyroid Association risk category, and use of postoperative RT were significantly associated with LRFS in all 201 patients (P < .05 each). In the 118 propensity score-matched patients, there were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the RT and Non-RT groups, but the LRFS rate was significantly higher in the RT than in the Non-RT group (4 y: 100% vs 84.6%, P = .002). Overall, SIB-IMRT was well tolerated, with no grade ≥3 toxicity, and was completed as planned in all patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative SIB-IMRT is feasible and effective in improving locoregional control in patients with locally advanced PTC. Large-scale randomized studies are warranted.

Mahdi H, Rose PG, Elshaikh MA, et al.
Adjuvant vaginal brachytherapy decreases the risk of vaginal recurrence in patients with stage I non-invasive uterine papillary serous carcinoma. A multi-institutional study.
Gynecol Oncol. 2015; 136(3):529-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the impact of adjuvant vaginal brachytherapy on vaginal recurrence in stage I non-invasive uterine papillary serous carcinoma (UPSC).
METHODS: This is a retrospective multi-institutional study from 2000-2012. 103 patients who underwent surgical treatment with non-invasive stage IA UPSC were included.
RESULTS: 85% and 55% underwent staging lymphadenectomy and omentectomy respectively. 28.2% (29/103) developed recurrence. Vaginal, pelvic and extra-pelvic recurrences developed in 7.8% (8/103), 3.9% (4/103) and 16.5% (17/103) respectively. Among patients who were observed or received only chemotherapy, the rate of vaginal recurrence was 10.9% (7/64) compared to 2.6% (1/39) among those who received vaginal brachytherapy +/- chemotherapy (p=0.035). The rate of vaginal recurrence was not different between those who were observed and those who received only chemotherapy (9.3% vs. 14.3%, p=0.27). The 5-year progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort were 88.3% and 90.6%. Patients who underwent surgical staging had longer PFS (p=0.001) and OS (p=0.0005) compared to those who did not. In multivariable analysis controlling for age, histology, chemotherapy, brachytherapy, and staging lymphadenectomy, only lymphadenectomy was an independent predictor of PFS (HR 0.28, 95% CI 0.11-0.71, p=0.0037) and OS (HR 0.27, 95% CI 0.10-0.71, p=0.0035). Neither chemotherapy nor brachytherapy were predictors of PFS or OS.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest study reported in stage I non-invasive UPSC. The majority of recurrences were extra-pelvic. Vaginal brachytherapy has a significant role in reducing the risk of vaginal recurrence and surgical staging was the only predictor of outcome. Therefore, both should be considered in these patients.

Liu M, Liu B, Wang H, et al.
Dosimetric comparative study of 3 different postoperative radiotherapy techniques (3D-CRT, IMRT, and RapidArc) for II-III stage rectal cancer.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2015; 94(1):e372 [PubMed] Related Publications
Postoperative radiotherapy is critical for reducing local relapse for advanced rectal carcinoma but has many side effects. Our study compared the dose distribution of target volumes, protection of normal organs at risk (OAR), and monitor unit (MU) for 3 radiotherapy techniques (3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy [3D-CRT], intensity-modulated radiation therapy [IMRT], and RapidArc (Varian Medical Systems, Inc., Palo Alto, CA, USA)). The results advocate for the clinical application of RapidArc technique in the future.Thirty postoperative patients with rectal cancer were enrolled. The 3 radiotherapy plans mentioned above were designed for each patient. The target volume coverage indicators included average dose, conformity index (CI), and homogeneity index (HI) of planning tumor volume (PTV). OAR included the bladder, small intestine, colon, and bilateral proximal femurs. The 30 patients were divided into 3 groups (10 cases in each group) for postoperative radiotherapy with the 3D-CRT, IMRT, or RapidArc technique, respectively.Both the IMRT and RapidArc plans have a significantly higher average PTV dose and better CI and HI (P < 0.01) than 3D-CRT. IMRT and RapidArc result in significantly lower doses of irradiation for all the OAR examined. Both the IMRT and RapidArc plans have a significantly lower V40 of the bladder, small intestine, and colon than 3D-CRT (P < 0.01). The IMRT and RapidArc plans can also reduce the maximum dose (Dmax) for the left proximal femur, V30, and V40 of bilateral proximal femurs compared with 3D-CRT (P < 0.01). Compared with IMRT, RapidArc can further reduce the Dmax of the small intestine, the Dmax and V30 of the bilateral proximal femurs, and the V40 of the right proximal femur (P < 0.01). RapidArc reduces MU remarkably compared with IMRT (P < 0.01). Regarding acute side effects, IMRT and RapidArc can greatly reduce the incidence of grade 3 radiation-induced cystitis and grade 2 enteritis.Both IMRT and RapidArc are better than 3D-CRT regarding PTV coverage and OAR protection. Furthermore, RapidArc is superior to IMRT regarding protection of the small intestine and bilateral proximal femurs and requires a reduced treatment time. RapidArc could be widely applied for postoperative radiotherapy for patients with ΙΙ-ΙΙΙ stage rectal cancer.

Bartelink H, Maingon P, Poortmans P, et al.
Whole-breast irradiation with or without a boost for patients treated with breast-conserving surgery for early breast cancer: 20-year follow-up of a randomised phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(1):47-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Since the introduction of breast-conserving treatment, various radiation doses after lumpectomy have been used. In a phase 3 randomised controlled trial, we investigated the effect of a radiation boost of 16 Gy on overall survival, local control, and fibrosis for patients with stage I and II breast cancer who underwent breast-conserving treatment compared with patients who received no boost. Here, we present the 20-year follow-up results.
METHODS: Patients with microscopically complete excision for invasive disease followed by whole-breast irradiation of 50 Gy in 5 weeks were centrally randomised (1:1) with a minimisation algorithm to receive 16 Gy boost or no boost, with minimisation for age, menopausal status, presence of extensive ductal carcinoma in situ, clinical tumour size, nodal status, and institution. Neither patients nor investigators were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival in the intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02295033.
FINDINGS: Between May 24, 1989, and June 25, 1996, 2657 patients were randomly assigned to receive no radiation boost and 2661 patients randomly assigned to receive a radiation boost. Median follow-up was 17.2 years (IQR 13.0-19.0). 20-year overall survival was 59.7% (99% CI 56.3-63.0) in the boost group versus 61.1% (57.6-64.3) in the no boost group, hazard ratio (HR) 1.05 (99% CI 0.92-1.19, p=0.323). Ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence was the first treatment failure for 354 patients (13%) in the no boost group versus 237 patients (9%) in the boost group, HR 0.65 (99% CI 0.52-0.81, p<0.0001). The 20-year cumulative incidence of ipsilatelal breast tumour recurrence was 16.4% (99% CI 14.1-18.8) in the no boost group versus 12.0% (9.8-14.4) in the boost group. Mastectomies as first salvage treatment for ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence occurred in 279 (79%) of 354 patients in the no boost group versus 178 (75%) of 237 in the boost group. The cumulative incidence of severe fibrosis at 20 years was 1.8% (99% CI 1.1-2.5) in the no boost group versus 5.2% (99% CI 3.9-6.4) in the boost group (p<0.0001).
INTERPRETATION: A radiation boost after whole-breast irradiation has no effect on long-term overall survival, but can improve local control, with the largest absolute benefit in young patients, although it increases the risk of moderate to severe fibrosis. The extra radiation dose can be avoided in most patients older than age 60 years.
FUNDING: Fonds Cancer, Belgium.

Kornerup JS, Brodin NP, Björk-Eriksson T, et al.
PET/CT-guided treatment planning for paediatric cancer patients: a simulation study of proton and conventional photon therapy.
Br J Radiol. 2015; 88(1047):20140586 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of including fluorine-18 fludeoxyglucose ((18)F-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 (18)F-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: (18)F-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.

Helou J, Morton G, Zhang L, et al.
A comparative study of quality of life in patients with localized prostate cancer treated at a single institution: stereotactic ablative radiotherapy or external beam+high dose rate brachytherapy boost.
Radiother Oncol. 2014; 113(3):404-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To compare the quality of life (QOL) in patients treated with stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR) alone or high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy+hypofractionated external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patient self-reported QOL was prospectively measured among patients from two sequential phase 2 clinical trials: 1-SABR 35Gy/5fractions/5 weeks, 2-15Gy HDR 1 fraction, followed by EBRT 37.5Gy/15 fractions/3 weeks. The expanded prostate cancer index composite was assessed at baseline and q6 monthly up to 5 years. Urinary, bowel and sexual domains were analyzed. A minimally clinical important change (MCIC) was defined as 0.5*standard deviation of the baseline for each domain. Fisher exact test and general linear mixed model were used (p<0.05).
RESULTS: 84 and 123 patients were treated on the SABR and HDR boost studies, with a median follow up of 51 and 61 months respectively. There was a significant difference in MCIC between treatments in the urinary function and bother (p<0.0001), the bowel function (p=0.0216) and the sexual function (p=0.0419) and bother (p=0.0290) domains in favor of the SABR group. Of patients who reported no problem with their sexual function at baseline, 7% and 23% respectively considered it to be a moderate to big problem on follow up (p=0.0077).
CONCLUSION: Patients treated with HDR-boost reported deterioration of QOL particularly in sexual domains in comparison with SABR.

Wobb JL, Chen PY, Shah C, et al.
Nomogram for predicting the risk of locoregional recurrence in patients treated with accelerated partial-breast irradiation.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 91(2):312-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To develop a nomogram taking into account clinicopathologic features to predict locoregional recurrence (LRR) in patients treated with accelerated partial-breast irradiation (APBI) for early-stage breast cancer.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: A total of 2000 breasts (1990 women) were treated with APBI at William Beaumont Hospital (n=551) or on the American Society of Breast Surgeons MammoSite Registry Trial (n=1449). Techniques included multiplanar interstitial catheters (n=98), balloon-based brachytherapy (n=1689), and 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (n=213). Clinicopathologic variables were gathered prospectively. A nomogram was formulated utilizing the Cox proportional hazards regression model to predict for LRR. This was validated by generating a bias-corrected index and cross-validated with a concordance index.
RESULTS: Median follow-up was 5.5 years (range, 0.9-18.3 years). Of the 2000 cases, 435 were excluded because of missing data. Univariate analysis found that age <50 years, pre-/perimenopausal status, close/positive margins, estrogen receptor negativity, and high grade were associated with a higher frequency of LRR. These 5 independent covariates were used to create adjusted estimates, weighting each on a scale of 0-100. The total score is identified on a points scale to obtain the probability of an LRR over the study period. The model demonstrated good concordance for predicting LRR, with a concordance index of 0.641.
CONCLUSIONS: The formulation of a practical, easy-to-use nomogram for calculating the risk of LRR in patients undergoing APBI will help guide the appropriate selection of patients for off-protocol utilization of APBI.

Ladra MM, Edgington SK, Mahajan A, et al.
A dosimetric comparison of proton and intensity modulated radiation therapy in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma patients enrolled on a prospective phase II proton study.
Radiother Oncol. 2014; 113(1):77-83 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 16/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is highly curable, however, cure may come with significant radiation related toxicity in developing tissues. Proton therapy (PT) can spare excess dose to normal structures, potentially reducing the incidence of adverse effects.
METHODS: Between 2005 and 2012, 54 patients were enrolled on a prospective multi-institutional phase II trial using PT in pediatric RMS. As part of the protocol, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans were generated for comparison with clinical PT plans.
RESULTS: Target coverage was comparable between PT and IMRT plans with a mean CTV V95 of 100% for both modalities (p=0.82). However, mean integral dose was 1.8 times higher for IMRT (range 1.0-4.9). By site, mean integral dose for IMRT was 1.8 times higher for H&N (p<0.01) and GU (p=0.02), 2.0 times higher for trunk/extremity (p<0.01), and 3.5 times higher for orbit (p<0.01) compared to PT. Significant sparing was seen with PT in 26 of 30 critical structures assessed for orbital, head and neck, pelvic, and trunk/extremity patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Proton radiation lowers integral dose and improves normal tissue sparing when compared to IMRT for pediatric RMS. Correlation with clinical outcomes is necessary once mature long-term toxicity data are available.

Chance WW, Rice DC, Allen PK, et al.
Hemithoracic intensity modulated radiation therapy after pleurectomy/decortication for malignant pleural mesothelioma: toxicity, patterns of failure, and a matched survival analysis.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 91(1):149-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate safety, efficacy, and recurrence after hemithoracic intensity modulated radiation therapy after pleurectomy/decortication (PD-IMRT) and after extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP-IMRT).
METHODS AND MATERIALS: In 2009-2013, 24 patients with mesothelioma underwent PD-IMRT to the involved hemithorax to a dose of 45 Gy, with an optional integrated boost; 22 also received chemotherapy. Toxicity was scored with the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0. Pulmonary function was compared at baseline, after surgery, and after IMRT. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to calculate overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), time to locoregional failure, and time to distant metastasis. Failures were in-field, marginal, or out of field. Outcomes were compared with those of 24 patients, matched for age, nodal status, performance status, and chemotherapy, who had received EPP-IMRT.
RESULTS: Median follow-up time was 12.2 months. Grade 3 toxicity rates were 8% skin and 8% pulmonary. Pulmonary function declined from baseline to after surgery (by 21% for forced vital capacity, 16% for forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and 19% for lung diffusion of carbon monoxide [P for all = .01]) and declined still further after IMRT (by 31% for forced vital capacity [P=.02], 25% for forced expiratory volume in 1 second [P=.01], and 30% for lung diffusion of carbon monoxide [P=.01]). The OS and PFS rates were 76% and 67%, respectively, at 1 year and 56% and 34% at 2 years. Median OS (28.4 vs 14.2 months, P=.04) and median PFS (16.4 vs 8.2 months, P=.01) favored PD-IMRT versus EPP-IMRT. No differences were found in grade 4-5 toxicity (0 of 24 vs 3 of 24, P=.23), median time to locoregional failure (18.7 months vs not reached, P not calculable), or median time to distant metastasis (18.8 vs 11.8 months, P=.12).
CONCLUSIONS: Hemithoracic intensity modulated radiation therapy after pleurectomy/decortication produced little high-grade toxicity but led to progressive declines in pulmonary function; OS and PFS were better in PD-IMRT compared with EPP-IMRT.

Cuttino LW, Arthur DW, Vicini F, et al.
Long-term results from the Contura multilumen balloon breast brachytherapy catheter phase 4 registry trial.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2014; 90(5):1025-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To describe the long-term outcomes from a completed, multi-institutional phase 4 registry trial using the Contura multilumen balloon (CMLB) breast brachytherapy catheter to deliver accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) in patients with early-stage breast cancer.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Three hundred forty-two evaluable patients were enrolled by 23 institutions between January 2008 and February 2011. All patients received 34 Gy in 10 fractions, delivered twice daily. Rigorous target coverage and normal tissue dose constraints were observed.
RESULTS: The median follow-up time was 36 months (range, 1-54 months). For the entire patient cohort of 342 patients, 10 patients experienced an ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR). Eight of these IBTR were classified as true recurrences/marginal miss (TRMM), and 2 were elsewhere failures (EF). Local recurrence-free survival was 97.8% at 3 years. For the entire cohort, 88% of patients had good to excellent overall cosmesis. The overall incidence of infection was 8.5%. Symptomatic seroma was reported in only 4.4% of patients. A separate analysis was performed to determine whether improved outcomes would be observed for patients treated at high-volume centers with extensive brachytherapy experience. Three IBTR were observed in this cohort, only 1 of which was classified as a TRMM. Local recurrence-free survival at high-volume centers was 98.1% at 3 years. Overall cosmetic outcome and toxicity were superior in patients treated at high-volume centers. In these patients, 95% had good to excellent overall cosmesis. Infection was observed in only 2.9% of patients, and symptomatic seroma was reported in only 1.9%.
CONCLUSION: Use of the CMLB for APBI delivery is associated with acceptable long-term local control and toxicity. Local recurrence-free survival was 97.8% at 3 years. Significant (grade 3) toxicity was uncommon, and no grade 4 toxicity was observed. Treatment at high-volume centers was associated with decreased late toxicity.

Maund IF, Benson RJ, Fairfoul J, et al.
Image-guided radiotherapy of the prostate using daily CBCT: the feasibility and likely benefit of implementing a margin reduction.
Br J Radiol. 2014; 87(1044):20140459 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether planning target volume (PTV) margins may be safely reduced in radiotherapy of localized prostate cancer incorporating daily online tube potential-cone beam CT (CBCT) image guidance and the anticipated benefit in predicted rectal toxicity.
METHODS: The prostate-only clinical target volume (CTV2) and rectum were delineated on 1 pre-treatment CBCT each week in 18 randomly selected patients. By transposing these contours onto the original plan, dose-volume histograms (DVHs) for CTV2 and the rectum were each calculated and combined, for each patient, to produce a single mean DVH representative of the dose delivered over the treatment course. Plans were reoptimized using reduced CTV2 to PTV2 margins and the consequent radiobiological impact modelled by the tumour control probability (TCP) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) of the rectum.
RESULTS: All CBCT images were deemed of sufficient quality to identify the CTV and rectum. No loss of TCP was observed when plans using the standard 5-mm CTV2 to PTV2 margin of the centre were reoptimized with a 4- or 3-mm margin. Margin reduction was associated with a significant decrease in rectal NTCP (5-4 mm; p < 0.05 and 5-3 mm; p < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Using daily online image guidance with CBCT, a reduction in CTV2 to PTV2 margins to 3 mm is achievable without compromising tumour control. The consequent sparing of surrounding normal tissues is associated with reduced anticipated rectal toxicity.
ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Margin reduction is feasible and potentially beneficial. Centres with image-guided radiotherapy capability should consider assessing whether margin reduction is possible within their institutes.

Gondi V, Pugh SL, Tome WA, et al.
Preservation of memory with conformal avoidance of the hippocampal neural stem-cell compartment during whole-brain radiotherapy for brain metastases (RTOG 0933): a phase II multi-institutional trial.
J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(34):3810-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Hippocampal neural stem-cell injury during whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) may play a role in memory decline. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy can be used to avoid conformally the hippocampal neural stem-cell compartment during WBRT (HA-WBRT). RTOG 0933 was a single-arm phase II study of HA-WBRT for brain metastases with prespecified comparison with a historical control of patients treated with WBRT without hippocampal avoidance.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eligible adult patients with brain metastases received HA-WBRT to 30 Gy in 10 fractions. Standardized cognitive function and quality-of-life (QOL) assessments were performed at baseline and 2, 4, and 6 months. The primary end point was the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised Delayed Recall (HVLT-R DR) at 4 months. The historical control demonstrated a 30% mean relative decline in HVLT-R DR from baseline to 4 months. To detect a mean relative decline ≤ 15% in HVLT-R DR after HA-WBRT, 51 analyzable patients were required to ensure 80% statistical power with α = 0.05.
RESULTS: Of 113 patients accrued from March 2011 through November 2012, 42 patients were analyzable at 4 months. Mean relative decline in HVLT-R DR from baseline to 4 months was 7.0% (95% CI, -4.7% to 18.7%), significantly lower in comparison with the historical control (P < .001). No decline in QOL scores was observed. Two grade 3 toxicities and no grade 4 to 5 toxicities were reported. Median survival was 6.8 months.
CONCLUSION: Conformal avoidance of the hippocampus during WBRT is associated with preservation of memory and QOL as compared with historical series.

Badakhshi H, Graf R, Budach V, Wust P
Permanent interstitial low-dose-rate brachytherapy for patients with low risk prostate cancer: An interim analysis of 312 cases.
Strahlenther Onkol. 2015; 191(4):303-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The biochemical relapse-free survival (bRFS) rate after treatment with permanent iodine-125 seed implantation (PSI) or combined seeds and external beam radiotherapy (COMB) for clinical stage T1-T2 localized prostate cancer is a clinically relevant endpoint. The goal of this work was to evaluate the influence of relevant patient- and treatment-related factors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study population comprised 312 consecutive patients treated with permanent seed implantation. All patients were evaluable for analysis of overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS), 230 for bRFS, of which 192 were in the PSI group and 38 in the COMB group. The prescribed minimum peripheral dose was 145 Gy for PSI, for COMB 110 Gy implant and external beam radiotherapy of 45 Gy. The median follow-up time was 33 months (range 8-66 months). bRFS was defined as a serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level ≤ 0.2 ng/ml at last follow-up.
RESULTS: Overall, the actuarial bRFS at 50 months was 88.4 %. The 50-month bRFS rate for PSI and COMB was 90.9 %, and 77.2 %, respectively. In the univariate analysis, age in the categories ≤ 63 and > 63 years (p < 0.00), PSA nadir (≤ 0.5 ng/ml and > 0.5 ng\ml) and PSA bounce (yes/no) were the significant predicting factors for bRFS. None of the other patient and treatment variables (treatment modality, stage, PSA, Gleason score, risk group, number of risk factors, D90 and various other dose parameters) were found to be a statistically significant predictor of 50-month bRFS.
CONCLUSION: The biochemical failure rates were low in this study. As a proof of principle, our large monocenteric analysis shows that low-dose-rate brachytherapy is an effective and safe procedure for patients with early stage prostate cancer.

Prince JF, Smits ML, Krijger GC, et al.
Radiation emission from patients treated with holmium-166 radioembolization.
J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2014; 25(12):1956-1963.e1 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To assess the radiation exposure to individuals coming from patients after treatment with holmium-166 ((166)Ho) microspheres.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Holmium-166 radioembolization (RE) with escalating whole-liver doses of 20 Gy, 40 Gy, 60 Gy, and 80 Gy was administered to 15 patients. Exposure rates (μSv/h) from patients were measured at 1.0 m distance from a lateral and frontal position at 0, 3, 6, 24, and 48 hours after infusion. The total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) to a maximally exposed contact was calculated in accordance with guidelines of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Results were extrapolated to a whole-liver dose of 60 Gy used in future treatments.
RESULTS: The median exposure rate at discharge, 48 hours after infusion, measured from a lateral position was 26 μSv/h (range, 7-45 μSv/h). Extrapolated to a whole-liver dose of 60 Gy, none of the exposure rates for the NRC contact scenario, at any time, frontal or lateral, would lead to a TEDE > 5 mSv; all patients may be released directly after treatment. Release after 6 hours is possible without contact restrictions for patients who received up to 7 GBq.
CONCLUSIONS: The TEDE to a contact of patients treated with (166)Ho RE would not exceed the NRC limit of 5 mSv. Contact restrictions 6 hours after treatment are unnecessary for infused activities < 7 GBq.

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