Irradiation of the prostate and pelvic lymph nodes with an adaptive algorithm




The simultaneous treatment of pelvic lymph nodes and the prostate in radiotherapy for prostate cancer is complicated by the independent motion of these two target volumes. In this work, the authors study a method to adapt intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment plans so as to compensate for this motion by adaptively morphing the multileaf collimator apertures and adjusting the segment weights.


The study used CT images, tumor volumes, and normal tissue contours from patients treated in our institution. An IMRT treatment plan was then created using direct aperture optimization to deliver 45 Gy to the pelvic lymph nodes and 50 Gy to the prostate and seminal vesicles. The prostate target volume was then shifted in either the anterior-posterior direction or in the superior-inferior direction. The treatment plan was adapted by adjusting the aperture shapes with or without re-optimizing the segment weighting. The dose to the target volumes was then determined for the adapted plan.


Without compensation for prostate motion, 1 cm shifts of the prostate resulted in an average decrease of 14% in D-95%. If the isocenter is simply shifted to match the prostate motion, the prostate receives the correct dose but the pelvic lymph nodes are underdosed by 14% ± 6%. The use of adaptive morphing (with or without segment weight optimization) reduces the average change in D-95% to less than 5% for both the pelvic lymph nodes and the prostate.


Adaptive morphing with and without segment weight optimization can be used to compensate for the independent motion of the prostate and lymph nodes when combined with daily imaging or other methods to track the prostate motion. This method allows the delivery of the correct dose to both the prostate and lymph nodes with only small changes to the dose delivered to the target volumes.