SU-D-204-02: BED Consistent Extrapolation of Mean Dose Tolerances




The safe use of radiotherapy requires the knowledge of tolerable organ doses. For experimental fractionation schemes (e.g. hypofractionation) these are typically extrapolated from traditional fractionation schedules using the Biologically Effective Dose (BED) model. This work demonstrates that using the mean dose in the standard BED equation may overestimate tolerances, potentially leading to unsafe treatments. Instead, extrapolation of mean dose tolerances should take the spatial dose distribution into account.


A formula has been derived to extrapolate mean physical dose constraints such that they are mean BED equivalent. This formula constitutes a modified BED equation where the influence of the spatial dose distribution is summarized in a single parameter, the dose shape factor. To quantify effects we analyzed 14 liver cancer patients previously treated with proton therapy in 5 or 15 fractions, for whom also photon IMRT plans were available.


Our work has two main implications. First, in typical clinical plans the dose distribution can have significant effects. When mean dose tolerances are extrapolated from standard fractionation towards hypofractionation they can be overestimated by 10–15%. Second, the shape difference between photon and proton dose distributions can cause 30–40% differences in mean physical dose for plans having the same mean BED. The combined effect when extrapolating proton doses to mean BED equivalent photon doses in traditional 35 fraction regimens resulted in up to 7–8 Gy higher doses than when applying the standard BED formula. This can potentially lead to unsafe treatments (in 1 of the 14 analyzed plans the liver mean dose was above its 32 Gy tolerance).


The shape effect should be accounted for to avoid unsafe overestimation of mean dose tolerances, particularly when estimating constraints for hypofractionated regimens. In addition, tolerances established for a given treatment modality cannot necessarily be applied to other modalities with drastically different dose distributions.