The authors present a novel paddle-based rotating-shield brachytherapy (P-RSBT) method, whose radiation-attenuating shields are formed with a multileaf collimator (MLC), consisting of retractable paddles, to achieve intensity modulation in high-dose-rate brachytherapy.
Five cervical cancer patients using an intrauterine tandem applicator were considered to assess the potential benefit of the P-RSBT method. The P-RSBT source used was a 50 kV electronic brachytherapy source (Xoft Axxent™). The paddles can be retracted independently to form multiple emission windows around the source for radiation delivery. The MLC was assumed to be rotatable. P-RSBT treatment plans were generated using the asymmetric dose–volume optimization with smoothness control method [Liu et al., Med. Phys. 41(11), 111709 (11pp.) (2014)] with a delivery time constraint, different paddle sizes, and different rotation strides. The number of treatment fractions (fx) was assumed to be five. As brachytherapy is delivered as a boost for cervical cancer, the dose distribution for each case includes the dose from external beam radiotherapy as well, which is 45 Gy in 25 fx. The high-risk clinical target volume (HR-CTV) doses were escalated until the minimum dose to the hottest 2 cm3 (D2cm3) of either the rectum, sigmoid colon, or bladder reached their tolerance doses of 75, 75, and 90 Gy3, respectively, expressed as equivalent doses in 2 Gy fractions (EQD2 with α/β = 3 Gy).
P-RSBT outperformed the two other RSBT delivery techniques, single-shield RSBT (S-RSBT) and dynamic-shield RSBT (D-RSBT), with a properly selected paddle size. If the paddle size was angled at 60°, the average D90 increases for the delivery plans by P-RSBT on the five cases, compared to S-RSBT, were 2.2, 8.3, 12.6, 11.9, and 9.1 Gy10, respectively, with delivery times of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min/fx. The increases in HR-CTV D90, compared to D-RSBT, were 16.6, 12.9, 7.2, 3.7, and 1.7 Gy10, respectively. P-RSBT HR-CTV D90-values were insensitive to the paddle size for paddles angled at less than 60°. Increasing the paddle angle from 5° to 60° resulted in only a 0.6 Gy10 decrease in HR-CTV D90 on average for five cases when the delivery times were set to 15 min/fx. The HR-CTV D90 decreased to 2.5 and 11.9 Gy10 with paddle angles of 90° and 120°, respectively.
P-RSBT produces treatment plans that are dosimetrically and temporally superior to those of S-RSBT and D-RSBT, although P-RSBT systems may be more mechanically challenging to develop than S-RSBT or D-RSBT. A P-RSBT implementation with 4–6 shield paddles would be sufficient to outperform S-RSBT and D-RSBT if delivery times are constrained to less than 15 min/fx.