Normal tissue tolerance dose metrics for radiation therapy of major organs.
Late organ toxicity from therapeutic radiation is a function of many confounding variables. The total dose delivered to the organ and the volumes of organ exposed to a given dose of radiation are 2 important variables that can be used to predict the risk of late toxicity. Three-dimensional radiation planning enables accurate calculation of the volume of tissue exposed to a given dose of radiation, graphically depicted as a dose-volume histogram. Dose metrics obtained from this 3-dimensional dataset can be used as a quantitative measure to predict late toxicity. This review summarizes the published clinical data on the risk of late toxicity as a function of quantitative dose metrics and attempts to offer suggested dose constraints for radiation treatment planning.