Volumetric modulated arc therapy is superior to conventional intensity modulated radiotherapy - a comparison among prostate cancer patients treated in an Australian centre - Abstract

Radiation Oncology Department, Mater Hospital, Crows Nest, NSW, Australia.


Radiotherapy technology is expanding rapidly. Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) technologies such as RapidArc (RA) may be a more efficient way of delivering intensity-modulated radiotherapy-like (IM) treatments. This study is an audit of the RA experience in an Australian department with a planning and economic comparison to IM.

30 consecutive prostate cancer patients treated radically with RA were analyzed. Eight RA patients treated definitively were then completely re-planned with 3D conformal radiotherapy (3D); and a conventional sliding window IM technique; and a new RA plan. The acceptable plans and their treatment times were compared and analyzed for any significant difference. Differences in staff costs of treatment were computed and analyzed.

Thirty patients had been treated to date with eight being treated definitely to at least 74 Gy, nine post high dose brachytherapy (HDR) to 50.4Gy and 13 post prostatectomy to at least 64Gy. All radiotherapy courses were completed with no breaks. Acute rectal toxicity by the RTOG criteria was acceptable with 22 having no toxicity, seven with grade 1 and one had grade 2. Of the eight re-planned patients, none of the 3D (three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy) plans were acceptable based on local guidelines for dose to organs at risk. There was no statistically significant difference in planning times between IM and RA (p=0.792). IM had significantly greater MUs per fraction (1813.9 vs 590.2 p< 0.001), total beam time per course (5.2 vs 3.1 hours, p=0.001) and average treatment staff cost per patient radiotherapy course ($AUD489.91 vs $AUD315.66, p=0.001). The mean saving in treatment staff cost for RA treatment was $AUD174.25 per patient.

3D was incapable of covering a modern radiotherapy volume for the radical treatment of prostate cancer. These volumes can be treated via conventional IM and RA. RA was significantly more efficient, safe and cost effective than IM. VMAT technologies are a superior way of delivering IM-like treatments.

Written by:
Fogarty GB, Ng D, Liu G, Haydu LE, Bhandari N.   Are you the author?

Reference: Radiat Oncol. 2011 Sep 5;6(1):108.
doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-6-108

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21892944

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