Computed tomography treatment planning in IR-192 brachytherapy in the head and neck.


Brachytherapy dose prescription and treatment planning lag behind the state-of-the-art for external beam therapy. As altered fractionation of external beam therapy improves patient outcome in head and neck cancer, there will be an increased need to compare the two radiotherapy techniques. Currently, implant techniques and dose prescription documentation are not uniform, dose prescription to a target volume is subjective, and implant quality is poorly understood and not routinely assessed. All contribute to a lack of scientifically rigorous brachytherapy clinical trials. Studies designed to combine tumor imaging and dosimetry data are important in the evolution of brachytherapy treatment planning. Head and neck implants, which often require nonparallel, arching, or looping source carriers for all but small tumors in order to encompass the target volume adequately, were used to evaluate the clinical utility and feasibility of computed tomography as a treatment planning tool in brachytherapy. Following placement of plastic afterloading tubes under general anesthesia, orthogonal radiographs with dummy sources in the afterloading tubes are obtained as customary for source localization. With the patient in the same position, axial CT scans are obtained with the dummy seeds still in place for treatment planning. The implant physician, using data from the pre-treatment diagnostic CT scan, outlines target areas on sequential images creating a 3-dimensional target volume. By superimposing anatomic data with isodose curves one can objectively define implant parameters important in clinical trials analysis. These include minimum target absorbed dose, implant uniformity, and treatment to target volume ratio. The results of the first 10 patients are presented and implications of these data regarding the analysis of implant technique, implant quality, and implant optimization are discussed. The technique as performed is laborious but practicable in the clinical research setting of head and neck implant. Further research efforts should improve, simplify, and objectify brachytherapy and hasten the time when rigorous multi-institutional brachytherapy trials will be reality.

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@article{Hayes1992ComputedTT, title={Computed tomography treatment planning in IR-192 brachytherapy in the head and neck.}, author={John Kaney Hayes and John H Moeller and Dennis D. Leavitt and Ronald K Davis and H. Ric Harnsberger}, journal={International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics}, year={1992}, volume={22 1}, pages={181-9} }