Determining optimal two-beam axial orientations for heart sparing in left-sided breast cancer patients

Authors

  • Cho B. C. John,

    1. The Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Department of Radiotherapy, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Mijnheer Ben J.,

    1. The Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Department of Radiotherapy, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Bartelink Harry

    1. The Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Department of Radiotherapy, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Background and purpose: The optimal intensity fluence profile of a beam depends on the profiles of other beams but most optimizations assume fixed beam orientations, a priori. Breast cancer radiotherapy attempts to cover the target and to spare critical structures such as the heart and lungs. The study aims are (1) to determine and document the optimal two-beam orientation that best spares the heart for left-sided breast cancer patients and (2) to investigate the influence of the treatment technique (i.e., conformal versus intensity modulation) on the optimal objective cost function. Material and methods: Ten left-sided breast cancer patients were planned using a conformal (3DCRT) and a simplified intensity modulated (sIMRT) technique using predefined segments and different two-beam orientations. Optimal segment weights were determined exhaustively for all axial two-beam combinations, in 5° increments, by minimizing a quadratic objective cost function. The resulting objective cost function was analyzed with respect to target geometry and treatment technique. Results: The sIMRT plans are generally less sensitive to beam orientation compared to 3DCRT plans. Optimal two-beam orientations for 3DCRT and sIMRT plans exist and they correspond to a hinge angle of approximately 188° and 160° or 210° (the latter is bimodal), respectively. Conclusions: The optimization software is a useful tool that can test many different beam combinations and estimate their associated objective cost values. Afterwards, the most promising beam orientations could be re-optimized under the TPS to fine-tune and verify the dose distributions. Optimal uniform two-beam orientations for the breast consist of opposing tangential medial and lateral beams. Optimal nonuniform two-beam orientations for left-sided breast cancers are bimodal, containing hinge angles around 160° and 210°. Nonuniform beam techniques are less sensitive to beam orientation compared to uniform beam techniques and result in significantly improved heart sparing but at a cost of slightly compromised planning target volume coverage.

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