Radiation Oncology Network, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Protocols commonly implemented in radiotherapy work areas may be classified as being either rigid (class solution) or flexible. Because formal evaluation of these protocol types has not occurred within the literature, we evaluated the efficiency of a rigid compared with flexible prostate planning protocol by assessing a series of completed 3D conformal prostate plans. Twenty prostate cancer patients with an average age of 70 years (range, 52-77) and sizes comprising 8 small, 10 medium, and 2 large were planned on the Phillips Pinnacle treatment planning system 6 times by radiation therapists with < 2 years, 2-5 years, and >5 years of experience using a rigid and flexible protocol. Plans were critiqued using critical organ doses, confirmation numbers, and conformity index. Plans were then classified as being acceptable or not. Plans produced with the flexible protocol were 53% less likely to require modification (OR 0.47, 95% CI: 0.26, 0.84, p = 0.01). Planners with >5 years of experience were 78% more likely to produce plans requiring modification (OR 1.78, 95% CI: 1.12, 2.83, P = 0.02). Plans according to the flexible protocol took longer (112 min) compared with the time taken using a rigid protocol (68 min) (p < 0.001). The results suggest that further studies are needed; however, we propose that all radiation therapy planners should start with the same limitations, and if an acceptable plan is not reached, then flexibility should be given to improve the plan to meet the desired results.
Coburn N, Beldham-Collins R, Westling J, Trovato J, Gebski V. Are you the author?
Reference: Med Dosim. 2011 Apr 1. Epub ahead of print.