PURPOSE: Magnetic resonance-guided adaptive radiotherapy (MRgART) is considered a promising resource for pancreatic cancer, as it allows to online modify the dose distribution according to daily anatomy. This study aims to compare the dosimetric performance of a simplified optimizer implemented on a MR-Linac treatment planning system (TPS) with those obtained using an advanced optimizer implemented on a conventional Linac.
METHODS: Twenty patients affected by locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) were considered. Gross tumor volume (GTV) and surrounding organ at risks (OARs) were contoured on the average 4DCT scan. Planning target volume was generated from GTV by adding an isotropic 3 mm margin and excluding overlap areas with OARs. Treatment plans were generated by using the simple optimizer for the MR-Linac in intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and the advanced optimizer for conventional Linac in IMRT and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) technique. Prescription dose was 40 Gy in five fractions. The dosimetric comparison was performed on target coverage, dosimetric indicators, and low dose diffusion.
RESULTS: The simplified optimizer of MR-Linac generated clinically acceptable plans in 80% and optimal plans in 55% of cases. The number of clinically acceptable plans obtained using the advanced optimizer of the conventional Linac with IMRT was the same of MR-Linac, but the percentage of optimal plans was higher (65%). Using the VMAT technique, it is possible to obtain clinically acceptable plan in 95% and optimal plans in 90% of cases. The advanced optimizer combined with VMAT technique ensures higher target dose homogeneity and minor diffusion of low doses, but its actual optimization time is not suitable for MRgART.
CONCLUSION: Simplified optimization solutions implemented in the MR-Linac TPS allows to elaborate in most of cases treatment plans dosimetrically comparable with those obtained by using an advanced optimizer. A superior treatment plan quality is possible using the VMAT technique that could represent a breakthrough for the MRgART if the modern advancements will lead to shorter optimization times.