Comparison of treatment plans: a retrospective study by the method of radiobiological evaluation

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Abstract

There are many situations in radiotherapy where multiple treatment plans need to be compared for selection of an optimal plan. In this study we performed the radiobiological method of plan evaluation to verify the treatment plan comparison procedure of our clinical practice. We estimated and correlated various radiobiological dose indices with physical dose metrics for a total of 30 patients representing typical cases of head and neck, prostate and brain tumors. Three sets of plans along with a clinically approved plan (final plan) treated by either Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) or Rapid Arc (RA) techniques were considered. The study yielded improved target coverage for final plans, however, no appreciable differences in doses and the complication probabilities of organs at risk were noticed. Even though all four plans showed adequate dose distributions, from dosimetric point of view, the final plan had more acceptable dose distribution. The estimated biological outcome and dose volume histogram data showed least differences between plans for IMRT when compared to RA. Our retrospective study based on 120 plans, validated the radiobiological method of plan evaluation. The tumor cure or normal tissue complication probabilities were found to be correlated with the corresponding physical dose indices.

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