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Background: Re-irradiation (re-RT) is a technically challenging task for which few standardized approaches exist. This is in part due to the lack of a common platform to assess dose tolerance in relation to toxicity in the re-RT setting. To better address this knowledge gap and provide new tools for studying and developing thresholds for re-RT, we developed a novel algorithm that allows for anatomically accurate three-dimensional mapping of composite biological effective dose (BED) distributions from nominal doses (Gy). Methods: The algorithm was designed to automatically convert nominal dose from prior treatment plans to corresponding BED value maps (voxel size 2.5 mm3 and α/β of 3 for normal tissue, BED3). Following the conversion of each plan to a BED3 dose distribution, deformable registration was used to create a summed composite re-irradiation BED3 plan for each patient who received two treatments. A proof-of-principle analysis was performed on 38 re-irradiation cases of initial stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) followed by either re-SABR or chemoradiation for isolated locoregional recurrence of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Results: Evaluation of the algorithm-generated maps revealed appropriate conversion of physical dose to BED at each voxel. Of 14 patients receiving repeat SABR, there was one case each of grade 3 chest wall pain (7%), pneumonitis (7%), and dyspnea (7%). Of 24 patients undergoing repeat fractionated radiotherapy, grade 3 events were limited to two cases each of pneumonitis and dyspnea (8%). Composite BED3 dosimetry for each patient who experienced grade 2–3 events is provided and may help guide development of precise cumulative dose thresholds for organs at risk in the re-RT setting. Conclusions: This novel algorithm successfully created a voxel-by-voxel composite treatment plan using BED values. This approach may be used to more precisely examine dosimetric predictors of toxicities and to establish more accurate normal tissue constraints for re-irradiation.
Brooks, E. D., Wang, X., De, B., Verma, V., Williamson, T. D., Hunter, R., … Chang, J. Y. (2022). An algorithm for thoracic re-irradiation using biologically effective dose: a common language on how to treat in a “no-treat zone.” Radiation Oncology, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13014-021-01977-1
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