TU-H-BRC-02: Biological Dose Escalation for Liver SBRT Through Spatiotemporal Fractionation




Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has become an established treatment option for liver cancer. For patients with large tumors, the prescription dose is often limited by constraints on the mean liver dose, leading to tumor recurrence. In this work, we demonstrate that spatiotemporal fractionation schemes, ie delivering distinct dose distributions in different fractions, may allow for a 10% increase in biologically effective dose (BED) in the tumor compared to current practice where each fraction delivers the same dose distribution.


We consider rotation therapy delivered with x-ray beams. Treatment plan optimization is performed using objective functions evaluated for the cumulative BED delivered at the end of treatment. This allows for simultaneously optimizing multiple distinct treatment plans for different fractions.


The treatment that optimally exploits fractionation effects is designed such that each fraction delivers a similar dose bath to the uninvolved liver while delivering high single fraction doses to complementary parts of the target volume. Thereby, partial hypofractionation in the tumor is achieved along with near uniform fractionation in the surrounding liver - leading to an improvement in the therapeutic ratio. The benefit of such spatiotemporal fractionation schemes depends on tumor geometry and location as well as the number of fractions. For 5-fraction treatments (allowing for 5 distinct dose distributions) an improvement in the order of 10% is observed.


Delivering distinct dose distributions in different fractions, purely motivated by fractionation effects rather than geometric changes, may improve the therapeutic ratio. For treatment sites where the prescriptions dose is limited by mean dose constraints in the surrounding organ, such as liver cancer, this approach may facilitate biological dose escalation and improved cure rates.