Dosimetric comparison for volumetric modulated arc therapy and intensitymodulated radiotherapy on the left-sided chest wall and internal mammary nodes irradiation in treating post-mastectomy breast cancer

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Background. The aim of the study was to evaluate the dosimetric benefit of applying volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) on the post-mastectomy left-sided breast cancer patients, with the involvement of internal mammary nodes (IMN).

Patients and methods. The prescription dose was 50 Gy delivered in 25 fractions, and the clinical target volume included the left chest wall (CW) and IMN. VMAT plans were created and compared with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) plans on Pinnacle treatment planning system. Comparative endpoints were dose homogeneity within planning target volume (PTV), target dose coverage, doses to the critical structures including heart, lungs and the contralateral breast, number of monitor units and treatment delivery time.

Results. VMAT and IMRT plans showed similar PTV dose homogeneity, but, VMAT provided a better dose coverage for IMN than IMRT (p = 0.017). The mean dose (Gy), V30 (%) and V10 (%) for the heart were 13.5 ± 5.0 Gy, 9.9% ± 5.9% and 50.2% ± 29.0% by VMAT, and 14.0 ± 5.4 Gy, 10.6% ± 5.8% and 55.7% ± 29.6% by IMRT, respectively. The left lung mean dose (Gy), V20 (%), V10 (%) and the right lung V5 (%) were significantly reduced from 14.1 ± 2.3 Gy, 24.2% ± 5.9%, 42.4% ± 11.9% and 41.2% ± 12.3% with IMRT to 12.8 ± 1.9 Gy, 21.0% ± 3.8%, 37.1% ± 8.4% and 32.1% ± 18.2% with VMAT, respectively. The mean dose to the contralateral breast was 1.7 ± 1.2 Gy with VMAT and 2.3 ± 1.6 Gy with IMRT. Finally, VMAT reduced the number of monitor units by 24% and the treatment time by 53%, as compared to IMRT.

Conclusions. Compared to 5-be am step-and-shot IMRT, VMAT achieves similar or superior target coverage and a better normal tissue sparing, with fewer monitor units and shorter delivery time.

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