In vitro evidence has suggested that radiation induced bystander effects may enhance non-local cell killing which may influence radiotherapy treatment planning paradigms. This work applies a bystander effect model, which has been derived from published in vitro data, to calculate equivalent uniform dose (EUD) and tumour control probability (TCP) and compare them with predictions from standard linear quadratic (LQ) models that assume a response due only to local absorbed dose. Comparisons between the models were made under increasing dose heterogeneity scenarios. Dose throughout the CTV was modeled with normal distributions, where the degree of heterogeneity was then dictated by changing the standard deviation (SD). The broad assumptions applied in the bystander effect model are intended to place an upper limit on the extent of the results in a clinical context.
The bystander model suggests a moderate degree of dose heterogeneity yields as good or better outcome compared to a uniform dose in terms of EUD and TCP. Intermediate risk prostate prescriptions of 78 Gy over 39 fractions had maximum EUD and TCP values at SD of around 5Gy. The plots only dropped below the uniform dose values for SD ∼ 10 Gy, almost 13% of the prescribed dose. The bystander model demonstrates the potential to deviate from the common local LQ model predictions as dose heterogeneity through a prostate CTV is varies. The results suggest the potential for allowing some degree of dose heterogeneity within a CTV, although further investigations of the assumptions of the bystander model are warranted.