SU-E-T-28: A Treatment Planning Comparison of Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy Vs. Proton Therapy for Post-Mastectomy Radiotherapy




The delivery of post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) can be challenging for patients with left-sided breast cancer due to the PTV size and proximity to critical organs. This study investigates the use of protons for PMRT in a clinically-representative cohort of patients, and quantitatively compares volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) to proton therapy to have an evidence-based rationale for selecting a treatment modality for these patients.


Eight left-sided PMRT patients previously treated at our clinic with VMAT were identified for the study. PTVs included the chest wall and regional lymph nodes. Passively scattered (PS) and intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) plans were constructed using the Eclipse proton planning system. The resulting plans were compared to the original VMAT plan on the basis of PTV coverage; dose homogeneity index (DHI) and conformity index (CI); dose to organs at risk (OAR); tumor control probability (TCP), normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) and secondary cancer complication probability (SCCP). Differences were tested for significance using the paired Student's t-test (p<0.01).


All modalities produced clinically acceptable PMRT plans. The comparison demonstrated proton treatment plans provide significantly lower NTCP values for the heart and the lung while maintaining significantly better CI and DHI. At a prescribed dose of 50.4 Gy (RBE) in the PTV, the calculated mean NTCP value for the patients decreased from 1.3% to 0.05% for the whole heart (cardiac mortality) and from 3.8% to 1.1% for the lungs (radiation pneumonitis) for both proton therapy plans from VMAT plans. Both proton modalities showed a significantly lower SCCP for the contralateral breast compared to VMAT.


All three plans (VMAT, PS, and IMPT) provide acceptable treatment plans for PMRT. However, proton therapy shows a significant advantage over VMAT with regards to sparing OARs and may be more advantageous for patients with unfavorable anatomy.