Treatment planning comparison between conformal radiotherapy and helical tomotherapy in the case of locally advanced-stage NSCLC

Giovanni Mauro Cattaneo, Italo Dell'Oca, Sara Broggi, Claudio Fiorino, Lucia Perna, Marcella Pasetti, Giulia Sangalli, Nadia di Muzio, Ferruccio Fazio, Riccardo Calandrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: To investigate the impact of Helical Tomotherapy (HT) upon the dose distribution when compared to our routinely delivered 3D conformal radiotherapy (CRT) in the case of patients affected by stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Material and methods: Thirteen stage III inoperable NSCLC patients were scheduled to receive 61.2-70.2 Gy, 1.8 Gy/fraction. Two treatment techniques (HT and CRT) were considered, and in the case of CRT the dose calculation was performed using both the pencil beam (PB) and Anisotropic Analytical Algorithm (AAA) available on the Varian Eclipse planning system. Dose volume constraints for PTV coverage and OAR sparing were assessed for the HT inverse planning with the highest priority upon PTV coverage and spinal cord sparing. The three plans were compared in terms of dose-volume histograms (DVHs) and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP). A statistical analysis was performed using non-parametric Wilcoxon matched pairs tests. Results: In CRT the use of a less accurate algorithm (PB) decreased the monitor unit number by 2.4%. HT significantly improved dose homogeneity within PTV compared with CRT_AAA. For lung parenchyma V20-V40 were lower with HT, corresponding to a decrease of 7% in the risk of radiation pneumonitis. The volume of the heart and esophagus irradiated to >45-60 Gy were reduced using HT plans. For eight PTs with an esophagus-PTV overlap >5%, HT significantly reduced both late and acute esophageal complication probability. Conclusions: Our findings obtained in stage III NSCLC patients underline that HT guarantees an important sparing of lungs and esophagus, thus HT has the potential to improve therapeutic ratio, when compared with CRT, by means of dose escalation and/or combined treatment strategy. In CRT of locally advanced lung cancers, the use of a more advanced algorithm would give significantly better modeling of target dose and coverage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • Intensity modulation
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • NTCP
  • Radiotherapy
  • Three-dimensional conformal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Urology


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