SU-F-BRD-12: When Does Pencil Beam Scanning Become Superior to Passive Scattered Proton Therapy for Pediatric Head and Neck Cancers?

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

To investigate the dosimetric benefits of pencil beam scanning (PBS) compared with passive scattered (PS) proton therapy for treatment of pediatric head&neck patients as a function of the PBS spot size and explore the advantages of using apertures in PBS.

Methods:

Ten pediatric patients with head&neck cancers treated by PS proton therapy at our institution were retrospectively selected. The histologies included rhabdomyosarcoma, ependymoma, astrocytoma, craniopharyngioma and germinoma. The prescribed dose ranged from 36 to 54 Gy(RBE). Five PBS plans were created for each patient using variable spot size (average sigma at isocenter) and choice of beam specific apertures: (1) 10mm spots, (2) 10mm spots with apertures, (3) 6mm spots, (4) 6mm spots with apertures, and (5) 3mm spots. The plans were optimized for intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) with no single beam uniformity constraints. Dose volume indices as well as equivalent uniform dose (EUD) were compared between PS and PBS plans.

Results:

Although target coverage was clinically adequate for all cases, the plans with largest (10mm) spots provide inferior quality compared with PS in terms of dose to organs-at-risk (OAR). However, adding apertures to these plans ensured lower OAR dose than PS. The average EUD difference between PBS and PS plans over all patients and organs at risk were (1) 2.5%, (2) −5.1%, (3) -5%, (4) −7.8%, and (5) −9.5%. As the spot size decreased, more conformal plans were achieved that offered similar target coverage but lower dose to the neighboring healthy organs, while alleviating the need for using apertures.

Conclusion:

The application of PBS does not always translate to better plan qualities compared to PS depending on the available beam spot size. We recommend that institutions with spot size larger than ∼6mm at isocenter consider using apertures to guarantee clinically comparable or superior dosimetric efficacy to PS treatments.

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