Dosimetric equivalence of nonstandard HDR brachytherapy catheter patterns



Purpose: To determine whether alternative high dose rate prostate brachytherapy catheter patterns can result in similar or improved dose distributions while providing better access and reducing trauma. Materials and Methods: Standard prostate cancer high dose rate brachytherapy uses a regular grid of parallel needle positions to guide the catheter insertion. This geometry does not easily allow the physician to avoid piercing the critical structures near the penile bulb nor does it provide position flexibility in the case of pubic arch interference. This study used CT datasets with 3mm slice spacing from ten previously treated patients and digitized new catheters following three hypothetical catheter patterns: conical, bi-conical, and fireworks. The conical patterns were used to accommodate a robotic delivery using a single entry point. The bi-conical and fireworks patterns were specifically designed to avoid the critical structures near the penile bulb. For each catheter distribution, a plan was optimized with the inverse planning algorithm, IPSA™, and compared with the plan used for treatment. Irrelevant of catheter geometry, a plan must fulfill the RTOG-0321 dose criteria for target dose coverage (V100Prostate>90%) and organ-at-risk dose sparing (V75Bladder<1cc, V75Rectum<1cc, V125Urethra1cc). Results: The three nonstandard catheter patterns used 16 nonparallel, straight divergent catheters, with entry points in the perineum. Thirty plans from ten patients with prostate sizes ranging from 26to89cc were optimized. All nonstandard patterns fulfilled the RTOG criteria when the clinical plan did. In some cases, the dose distribution was improved by better sparing the organs-at-risk. Conclusion: Alternative catheter patterns can provide the physician with additional ways to treat patients previously considered unsuited for brachytherapy treatment (pubic arch interference) and facilitate robotic guidance of catheter insertion. In addition, alternative catheter patterns may decrease toxicity by avoidance of the critical structures near the penile bulb while still fulfilling the RTOG criteria.