Radiation therapy physics
Dosimetric evaluation of new approaches in GRID therapy using nonconventional radiation sources
Spatial fractionation of the dose has proven to be a promising approach to increase the tolerance of healthy tissue, which is the main limitation of radiotherapy. A good example of that is GRID therapy, which has been successfully used in the management of large tumors with low toxicity. The aim of this work is to explore new avenues using nonconventional sources: GRID therapy by using kilovoltage (synchrotron) x-rays, the use of very high-energy electrons, and proton GRID therapy. They share in common the use of the smallest possible grid sizes in order to exploit the dose–volume effects.
Monte Carlo simulations (penelope/peneasy and geant4/GATE codes) were used as a method to study dose distributions resulting from irradiations in different configurations of the three proposed techniques. As figure of merit, percentage (peak and valley) depth dose curves, penumbras, and central peak-to-valley dose ratios (PVDR) were evaluated. As shown in previous biological experiments, high PVDR values are requested for healthy tissue sparing. A superior tumor control may benefit from a lower PVDR.
High PVDR values were obtained in the healthy tissue for the three cases studied. When low energy photons are used, the treatment of deep-seated tumors can still be performed with submillimetric grid sizes. Superior PVDR values were reached with the other two approaches in the first centimeters along the beam path. The use of protons has the advantage of delivering a uniform dose distribution in the tumor, while healthy tissue benefits from the spatial fractionation of the dose. In the three evaluated techniques, there is a net reduction in penumbra with respect to radiosurgery.
The high PVDR values in the healthy tissue and the use of small grid sizes in the three presented approaches might constitute a promising alternative to treat tumors with such spatially fractionated radiotherapy techniques. The dosimetric results presented here support the interest of performing radiobiology experiments in order to evaluate these new avenues.