Adaptive image guided brachytherapy for cervical cancer: A combined MRI-/CT-planning technique with MRI only at first fraction

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Abstract

Purpose: To investigate and test the feasibility of adaptive 3D image based BT planning for cervix cancer patients in settings with limited access to MRI, using a combination of MRI for the first BT fraction and planning of subsequent fractions on CT. Material and methods: For 20 patients treated with EBRT and HDR BT with tandem/ring applicators two sets of treatment plans were compared. Scenario one is based on the "gold standard" with individual MRI-based treatment plans (applicator reconstruction, target contouring and dose optimization) for two BT applications with two fractions each. Scenario two is based on one initial MRI acquisition with an applicator in place for the planning of the two fractions of the first BT application and reuse of the target contour delineated on MRI for subsequent planning of the second application on CT. Transfer of the target from MRI of the first application to the CT of the second one was accomplished by use of an automatic applicator-based image registration procedure. Individual dose optimization of the second BT application was based on the transferred MRI target volume and OAR structures delineated on CT. DVH parameters were calculated for transferred target structures (virtual dose from MRI/CT plan) and CT-based OAR. The quality of the MRI/CT combination method was investigated by evaluating the CT-based dose distributions on MRI-based target and OAR contours of the same application (real dose from MRI/CT plan). Results: The mean difference between the MRI based target volumes (HR CTVMRI2) and the structures transferred from MRI to CT (HR CTVCT2) was -1.7 ± 6.6 cm3 (-2.9 ± 20.4%) with a median of -0.7 cm3. The mean difference between the virtual and the real total D90, based on the MRI/CT combination technique was -1.5 ± 4.3 Gy EQD2. This indicates a small systematic underestimation of the real D90. Conclusions: A combination of MRI for first fraction and subsequent CT based planning is feasible and easy when automatic applicator-based image registration and target transfer are technically available. The results show striking similarity to fully MRI-based planning in cases of small tumours and intracavitary applications, both in terms of HR CTV coverage and respecting of OAR dose limits. For larger tumours and complex applications, as well as situations with unfavourable OAR topography, especially for the sigmoid, MRI based adaptive BT planning remains the superior method. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Nesvacil, N., Pötter, R., Sturdza, A., Hegazy, N., Federico, M., & Kirisits, C. (2013). Adaptive image guided brachytherapy for cervical cancer: A combined MRI-/CT-planning technique with MRI only at first fraction. Radiotherapy and Oncology, 107(1), 75–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2012.09.005

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