Dosimetric Evaluation and Reproducibility of Breath-Hold Plans in Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy: An Initial Clinical Experience

Pouya Sabouri, PhD,a Jason Molitoris, MD, PhD,b,c Maida Ranjbar, PhD,d Julie Moreau, BS,e Charles B. Simone II, MD,e Pranshu Mohindra, MD, MBBS,b,c Katja Langen, PhD,f and Sina Mossahebi, PhD

Purpose: Breath-hold (BH) technique can mitigate target motion, minimize target margins, reduce normal tissue doses, and lower the effect of interplay effects with intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT). This study presents dosimetric comparisons between BH and nonbreath-hold (non-BH) IMPT plans and investigates the reproducibility of BH plans using frequent quality assurance (QA) computed tomography scans (CT).

Methods and Materials: Data from 77 consecutive patients with liver (n = 32), mediastinal/lung (n = 21), nonliver upper abdomen (n = 20), and malignancies in the gastroesophageal junction (n = 4), that were treated with a BH spirometry system (SDX) were evaluated. All patients underwent both BH CT and 4-dimensional CT simulations. Clinically acceptable BH and non-BH plans were generated on each scan, and dose-volume histograms of the 2 plans were compared. Reproducibility of the BH plans for 30 consecutive patients was assessed using 1 to 3 QA CTs per patient and variations in dose-volume histograms for deformed target and organs at risk (OARs) volumes were compared with the initial CT plan.

Results: Use of BH scans reduced initial and boost target volumes to 72% § 20% and 70% § 17% of non-BH volumes, respectively. Additionally, mean dose to liver, stomach, kidney, esophagus, heart, and lung V20 were each reduced to 71% to 79% with the BH technique. Similarly, small and large bowels, heart, and spinal cord maximum doses were each lowered to 68% to 84%. Analysis of 62 QA CT scans demonstrated that mean target and OAR doses using BH scans were reproducible to within 5% of their nominal plan values.

Conclusions: The BH technique reduces the irradiated volume, leading to clinically significant reductions in OAR doses. By mitigating tumor motion, the BH technique leads to reproducible target coverage and OAR doses. Its use can reduce motion-related uncertainties that are normally associated with the treatment of thoracic and abdominal tumors and, therefore, optimize IMPT delivery.

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