• IMRT;
  • lung and contralateral breast;
  • radiation to heart;
  • whole breast radiotherapy


Prior to introducing intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for whole breast radiotherapy (WBRT) into our department we undertook a comparison of the dose parameters of several IMRT techniques and standard wedged tangents (SWT). Our aim was to improve the dose distribution to the breast and to decrease the dose to organs at risk (OAR): heart, lung and contralateral breast (Contra Br). Treatment plans for 20 women (10 right-sided and 10 left-sided) previously treated with SWT for WBRT were used to compare (a) SWT; (b) electronic compensators IMRT (E-IMRT); (c) tangential beam IMRT (T-IMRT); (d) coplanar multi-field IMRT (CP-IMRT); and (e) non-coplanar multi-field IMRT (NCP-IMRT). Plans for the breast were compared for (i) dose homogeneity (DH); (ii) conformity index (CI); (iii) mean dose; (iv) maximum dose; (v) minimum dose; and dose to OAR were calculated (vi) heart; (vii) lung and (viii) Contra Br. Compared with SWT, all plans except CP-IMRT gave improvement in at least two of the seven parameters evaluated. T-IMRT and NCP-IMRT resulted in significant improvement in all parameters except DH and both gave significant reduction in doses to OAR. As on initial evaluation NCP-IMRT is likely to be too time consuming to introduce on a large scale, T-IMRT is the preferred technique for WBRT for use in our department.