To gate or not to gate - dosimetric evaluation comparing Gated vs ITV-based methodologies in stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) treatment of lung cancer

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Radiat Oncol


BACKGROUND: To compare retrospectively generated gated plans to conventional internal target volume (ITV)-based plans and to evaluate whether gated radiotherapy provides clinically relevant dosimetric improvements to organs-at-risk (OARs).

METHODS: Evaluation was performed of 150 stereotactic ablative radiotherapy treatment plans delivered to 128 early-stage (T1-T3 (cm)) NSCLC patients. To generate gated plans, original ITV-based plans were re-optimized and re-calculated on the end-exhale phase and using gated planning target volumes (PTV). Gated and ITV-based plans were produced for 3 × 18 Gy and 4 × 12 Gy fractionation regimens. Dose differences between gated and ITV-based plans were analyzed as a function of both three-dimensional motion and tumor volume. OARs were analyzed using RTOG and AAPM dose constraints.

RESULTS: Differences between gated and ITV-based plans for all OAR indices were largest for the 3 × 18 Gy regimen. For this regimen, MLD differences calculated by subtracting the gated values from the ITV-based values (ITV vs. Gated) were 0.10 ± 0.56 Gy for peripheral island (N = 57), 0.16 ± 0.64 Gy for peripheral lung-wall seated (N = 57), and 0.10 ± 0.64 Gy for central tumors (N = 36). Variations in V20 were similarly low, with the greatest differences occurring in peripheral tumors (0.20 ± 1.17 %). Additionally, average differences (in 2Gy-equivalence) between ITV and gated lung indices fell well below clinical tolerance values for all fractionation regimens, with no clinically meaningful differences observed from the 4 × 12 Gy regimen and rarely for the 3 × 18 Gy regimen (% of cases). Dosimetric differences between gated and ITV-based methods did generally increase with increasing tumor motion and decreasing tumor volume. Dose to ribs and bronchial tree were slightly higher in gated plans compared to ITV-based plans and slightly lower for esophagus, heart, spinal cord, and trachea.

CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of 150 SABR-based lung cancer treatment plans did not show a substantial benefit for the gating regimen when compared to ITV-based treatment plans. Small benefits were observed only for the largest tumor motion (exceeding 2 cm) and the high dose treatment regimen (3 × 18 Gy), though these benefits did not appear to be clinically relevant.

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