Brachytherapy results in better dose distribution compared with other treatments because of steep dose reduction in the surrounding normal tissues. Excellent local control rates and acceptable side effects have been demonstrated with brachytherapy as a sole treatment modality, a postoperative method, and a method of reirradiation. Low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy has been employed worldwide for its superior outcome. With the advent of technology, high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy has enabled health care providers to avoid radiation exposure. This therapy has been used for treating many types of cancer such as gynecological cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. However, LDR and pulsed-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapies have been mainstays for head and neck cancer. HDR brachytherapy has not become widely used in the radiotherapy community for treating head and neck cancer because of lack of experience and biological concerns. On the other hand, because HDR brachytherapy is less time-consuming, treatment can occasionally be administered on an outpatient basis. For the convenience and safety of patients and medical staff, HDR brachytherapy should be explored. To enhance the role of this therapy in treatment of head and neck lesions, we have reviewed its outcomes with oral cancer, including Phase I/II to Phase III studies, evaluating this technique in terms of safety and efficacy. In particular, our studies have shown that superficial tumors can be treated using a non-invasive mold technique on an outpatient basis without adverse reactions. The next generation of image-guided brachytherapy using HDR has been discussed. In conclusion, although concrete evidence is yet to be produced with a sophisticated study in a reproducible manner, HDR brachytherapy remains an important option for treatment of oral cancer.
brachytherapy; oral cancer; high dose rate
Background and Purpose
To evaluate the proximity, variance, predictors of dose, and complications to the sigmoid in cervical-cancer brachytherapy using 3D planning.
Materials and Methods
Over 36 months, 50 patients were treated for cervical cancer with either low-dose-rate (LDR) or high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy. The distance from the central tandem to the sigmoid, the D0.1cc and the D2cc to the sigmoid, rectum and bladder doses, and toxicity were analyzed.
The median sigmoid EQD2 D0.1cc and D2cc were 84 Gy and 68.3 Gy for HDR versus 71.1 Gy and 65.9 Gy for LDR (p=0.02 and 0.98, respectively). Twenty percent of the HDR fractions required manipulation of the superior dwell positions to decrease the sigmoid dose. The median distance from the sigmoid to the tandem was 1.7 cm (range [rg], 0.1 – 6.16 cm) for HDR and 2.7 cm (rg, 1.17 – 4.52 cm) for LDR; from the sigmoid to the 100% isodose region the median distances were – 0.1 cm (rg, -1.4 – 2.5 cm) and 0.44 cm (rg. -0.73 – 5.2 cm), respectively. The proximity of the sigmoid to the tandem is significantly related to sigmoid dose (p<0.0001). Within-patient (among-fraction) variation in sigmoid-to-tandem distance during HDR was substantial (coefficient of variation = 40%). No grade 3-4 sigmoid toxicity was seen after a median 31-month follow-up period.
3D imaging in cervical cancer brachytherapy shows the sigmoid in close proximity to the tandem. The sigmoid to tandem distance varies substantially between fractions, indicating the importance of sigmoid dose-volume evaluation with each fraction.
cervical cancer; brachytherapy; normal tissue dose
To examine the role of brachytherapy for aged patients 80 or more in the trend of rapidly increasing number.
We examined the outcomes for elderly patients with node negative oral tongue cancer (T1-3N0M0) treated with brachytherapy. The 21 patients (2 T1, 14 T2, and 5 T3 cases) ranged in age from 80 to 89 years (median 81), and their cancer was pathologically confirmed. All patients underwent definitive radiation therapy, with low dose rate (LDR) Ra-226 brachytherapy (n = 4; median 70Gy), with Ir-192 (n = 12; 70Gy), with Au-198 (n = 1) or with high dose rate (HDR) Ir-192 brachytherapy (n = 4; 60 Gy). Eight patients also underwent external radiotherapy (median 30 Gy). The period of observation ranged from 13 months to 14 years (median 2.5 years). We selected 226 population matched younger counterpart from our medical chart.
Definitive radiation therapy was completed for all 21 patients (100%), and acute grade 2-3 mucositis related to the therapy was tolerable. Local control (initial complete response) was attained in 19 of 21 patients (90%). The 2-year and 5-year local control rates were 91%, (100% for T1, 83% for T2 and 80% for T3 tumors after 2 years). These figures was not inferior to that of younger counterpart (82% at 5-year, n.s.). The cause-specific survival rate was 83% and the regional control rate 84% at the 2-years follow-up. However, 12 patients died because of intercurrent diseases or senility, resulting in overall survival rates of 55% at 2 years and 34% at 5 years.
Age is not a limiting factor for brachytherapy for appropriately selected elderly patients, and brachytherapy achieved good local control with acceptable morbidity.
Radical radiotherapy is one of the options for the management of prostate cancer. In external beam therapy, 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) are the options for delivery of increased radiation dose, as vital organs are very close to the prostate and a higher dose to these structures leads to an increased toxicity. In brachytherapy, low dose rate brachytherapy with permanent implant of radioactive seeds and high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) with remote after loaders are available. A dosimetric analysis has been made on IMRT and HDR brachytherapy plans. Ten cases from each IMRT and HDR brachytherapy have been taken for the study. The analysis includes comparison of conformity and homogeneity indices, D100, D95, D90, D80, D50, D10 and D5 of the target. For the organs at risk (OAR), namely rectum and bladder, V100, V90 and V50 are compared. In HDR brachytherapy, the doses to 1 cc and 0.1 cc of urethra have also been studied. Since a very high dose surrounds the source, the 300% dose volumes in the target and within the catheters are also studied in two plans, to estimate the actual volume of target receiving dose over 300%. This study shows that the prescribed dose covers 93 and 92% of the target volume in IMRT and HDR brachytherapy respectively. HDR brachytherapy delivers a much lesser dose to OAR, compared to the IMRT. For rectum, the V50 in IMRT is 34.0cc whilst it is 7.5cc in HDR brachytherapy. With the graphic optimization tool in HDR brachytherapy planning, the dose to urethra could be kept within 120% of the target dose. Hence it is concluded that HDR brachytherapy may be the choice of treatment for cancer of prostate in the early stage.
Brachytherapy; conformity; intensity modulated radiotherapy; prostate
This report presents the 2011 update to the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy guidelines for locally advanced cervical cancer.
Members of the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) with expertise in cervical cancer brachytherapy formulated updated guidelines for HDR brachytherapy using tandem and ring, ovoids, cylinder or interstitial applicators for locally advanced cervical cancer were revised based on medical evidence in the literature and input of clinical experts in gynecologic brachytherapy.
The Cervical Cancer Committee for Guideline Development affirms the essential curative role of tandem-based brachytherapy in the management of locally advanced cervical cancer. Proper applicator selection, insertion, and imaging are fundamental aspects of the procedure. Three-dimensional imaging with magnetic resonance or computed tomography or radiographic imaging may be used for treatment planning. Dosimetry must be performed after each insertion prior to treatment delivery. Applicator placement, dose specification and dose fractionation must be documented, quality assurance measures must be performed, and follow-up information must be obtained. A variety of dose/fractionation schedules and methods for integrating brachytherapy with external-beam radiation exist. The recommended tumor dose in 2 Gray (Gy) per fraction radiobiologic equivalence (EQD2) is 80–90 Gy, depending on tumor size at the time of brachytherapy. Dose limits for normal tissues are discussed.
These guidelines update those of 2000 and provide a comprehensive description of HDR cervical cancer brachytherapy in 2011.
To evaluate whether Point A asymmetry in low dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy is associated with local control (LC), disease-free survival (DFS) and/or overall survival (OS).
Material and methods
A retrospective analysis of disease control and survival outcomes was conducted for patients who underwent LDR brachytherapy for advanced cervical cancer. Institutional protocol entailed concurrent chemotherapy and whole pelvis radiotherapy (WPRT) over 5 weeks, followed by placement of Fletcher-Suit tandem and colpostat applicators at weeks 6 and 8. Objective Point A doses, 80-85 Gy, were accomplished by placement of Cesium-137 (Cs-137) sources. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess associations between disease control and survival endpoints with variables of interest.
The records of 50 patients with FIGO stage IB1-IVA cervical cancer undergoing LDR brachytherapy at our institution were identified. Thirty of these patients had asymmetry > 2.5%, and 11 patients had asymmetry > 5%. At a median survivor follow-up of 20.25 months, 15 patients had experienced disease failure (including 5 cervical/vaginal apex only failures and 2 failures encompassing the local site). Right/left dose asymmetry at Point A was associated with statistically significantly inferior LC (p = 0.035) and inferior DFS (p = 0.011) for patients with mean Point A dose of > 80 Gy. Insufficient evidence existed to conclude an association with OS.
LDR brachytherapy may be associated with clinically significant dose asymmetry. The present study demonstrates that patients with Point A asymmetry have a higher risk of failure for DFS and LC.
brachytherapy; cervical; point A; Fletcher-Suit system
The common use of nomograms in Low Dose Rate (LDR) permanent prostate brachytherapy (BT) allows to estimate the number of seeds required for an implant. Independent dosimetry verification is recommended for each clinical dosimetry in BT. Also, nomograms can be useful for dose calculation quality assurance and they could be adapted to High Dose Rate (HDR). This work sets nomograms for LDR and HDR prostate-BT implants, which are applied to three different institutions that use different implant techniques.
Material and methods
Patients treated throughout 2010 till April 2011 were considered for this study. This example was chosen to be the representative of the latest implant techniques and to ensure consistency in the planning. A sufficient number of cases for both BT modalities, prescription dose and different work methodology (depending on the institution) were taken into account. The specific nomograms were built using the correlation between the prostate volume and some characteristic parameters of each BT modality, such as the source Air Kerma Strength, number of implanted seeds in LDR or total radiation time in HDR.
For each institution and BT modality, nomograms normalized to the prescribed dose were obtained and fitted to a linear function. The parameters of the adjustment show a good agreement between data and the fitting. It should be noted that for each institution these linear function parameters are different, indicating that each centre should construct its own nomograms.
Nomograms for LDR and HDR prostate brachytherapy are simple quality assurance tools, specific for each institution. Nevertheless, their use should be complementary to the necessary independent verification.
nomograms; prostate brachytherapy; quality assurance; independent verification
Brachytherapy, interstitial tumor bed irradiation, following conservative surgery has been shown to provide excellent local control and limb preservation in patients with soft tissue sarcomas (STS), whereas little is known about the tolerance of peripheral nerves to brachytherapy. In particular, nerve tolerance to high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy has never been properly evaluated. In this study, we examined the efficacy and radiation neurotoxicity of HDR brachytherapy in patients with STS in contact with neurovascular structures.
Between 1995 and 2000, seven patients with STS involving the neurovascular bundle were treated in our institute with limb-preserving surgery, followed by fractionated HDR brachytherapy. Pathological examination demonstrated that 6 patients had high-grade lesions with five cases of negative margins and one case with positive margins, and one patient had a low-grade lesion with a negative margin. Afterloading catheters placed within the tumor bed directly upon the preserved neurovascular structures were postoperatively loaded with Iridium-192 with a total dose of 50 Gy in 6 patients. One patient received 30 Gy of HDR brachytherapy combined with 20 Gy of adjuvant external beam radiation.
With a median follow-up of 4 years, the 5-year actuarial overall survival, disease-free survival, and local control rates were 83.3, 68.6, and 83.3%, respectively. None of the 7 patients developed HDR brachytherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Of 5 survivors, 3 evaluable patients had values of motor nerve conduction velocity of the preserved peripheral nerve in the normal range.
In this study, there were no practical and electrophysiological findings of neurotoxicity of HDR brachytherapy. Despite the small number of patients, our encouraging results are valuable for limb-preserving surgery of unmanageable STS involving critical neurovascular structures.
The efficacy and safety results of treatment with low-dose-rate vaginal brachytherapy for grade 3 vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia over a 25-year period at Gustave Roussy Institute are presented. This treatment was found to be both safe and effective.
After completing this course, the reader will be able to:
Utilize data supporting the efficacy of low-dose definitive brachytherapy to inform clinical decisions about treating women with high-grade vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia.Implement methods for delivering low-dose definitive brachytherapy that minimize toxicity.Communicate to patients the type and incidence of toxic events associated with low-dose definitive brachytherapy.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at CME.TheOncologist.com
Treatment of high-grade vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN) is controversial and could include surgical excision, topical medication, brachytherapy, or other treatments. We report the results of low-dose-rate (LDR) vaginal brachytherapy for grade 3 VAIN (VAIN-3) over a 25-year period at Gustave Roussy Institute.
Patients and Methods.
We retrospectively reviewed the files of all patients treated at Gustave Roussy Institute for VAIN-3 since 1985. The treatment consisted of LDR brachytherapy using a personalized vaginal mold and delivered 60 Gy to 5 mm below the vaginal mucosa. All patients had at least an annual gynecological examination, including a vaginal smear.
Twenty-eight patients were eligible. The median follow-up was 41 months. Seven patients had a follow-up <2 years, and the median follow-up for the remaining 21 patients was 79 months. The median age at brachytherapy was 63 years (range, 38–80 years). Twenty-six patients had a history of VAIN recurring after cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and 24 had a previous hysterectomy. The median brachytherapy duration was 4.5 days. Median doses to the International Commission of Radiation Units and Measurements rectum and bladder points were 68 Gy and 45 Gy, respectively. The median prescription volume (60 Gy) was 74 cm3. Only one “in field” recurrence occurred, corresponding to a 5- and 10-year local control rate of 93% (95% confidence interval, 70%–99%). The treatment was well tolerated, with no grade 3 or 4 late toxicity and only one grade 2 digestive toxicity. No second cancers were reported.
LDR brachytherapy is an effective and safe treatment for vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia.
Vaginal neoplasms; Carcinoma in situ; Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; Brachytherapy
Low-dose rate brachytherapy has become a mainstream treatment option for men diagnosed with prostate cancer because of excellent long-term treatment outcomes in low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients. To a great extend due to patient lead advocacy for minimally invasive treatment options, high-quality prostate implants have become widely available in the US, Europe, and Japan. High-dose-rate (HDR) afterloading brachytherapy in the management of localised prostate cancer has practical, physical, and biological advantages over low-dose-rate seed brachytherapy. There are no free live sources used, no risk of source loss, and since the implant is a temporary procedure following discharge no issues with regard to radioprotection use of existing facilities exist. Patients with localized prostate cancer may benefit from high-dose-rate brachytherapy, which may be used alone in certain circumstances or in combination with external-beam radiotherapy in other settings. The purpose of this paper is to present the essentials of brachytherapies techniques along with the most important studies that support their effectiveness in the treatment of prostate cancer.
This study was performed to evaluate the treatment results, prognostic factors and complication rates in patients with locally advanced cancer of uterine cervix after radiotherapy with high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
Materials and Methods
One hundred and twenty patients with a locally advanced (stages IIB~IVA according to FIGO classification) carcinoma of the uterine cervix were treated with radiotherapy at the Department of Radiation Oncology, Samsung Medical Center between September 1994 and December 2001. The median age of the patients was 61 years (range 29 to 81). Sixty-one, 56 and 3 patients had FIGO stage IIB, III, and IV diseases, respectively. All patients were given external beam radiotherapy over the whole pelvis (median 50.4 Gy) and HDR intracavitary brachytherapy, with a median of 4 Gy per fraction, to point A. Twenty-one patients received chemotherapy, of which 13 and 21 received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy, respectively, during the first and fourth weeks of external beam radiotherapy. The chemotherapy was not randomly assigned and the median follow-up time was 28.5 months (range: 6~100 months).
The three- and 5-year overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) rates were 64.4 and 57.0%, and 63.7 and 60.2%, respectively. The 5-year OS and DFS rates of the patients at stages IIB, III and IV were 60.2, 57.9 and 33.3%, and 57.4, 65.4 and 33.3%, respectively. Univariate analysis indicated that the FIGO stage, overall treatment time (OTT) and treatment response were significant variables for the OS (p=0.035, p=0.0649 and p=0.0009) and of the DFS (p=0.0009, p=0.0359 and p=0.0363). Multivariate analysis showed that the treatment response was the only significant variable for the OS (p=0.0018) and OTT for the DFS (p=0.0360). The overall incidence of late complications in the rectum and bladder were 11.7 and 6.7%, respectively. In addition, insufficiency fractures were observed in 7 patients (5.8%).
The results of this study suggest that radical radiotherapy with HDR brachytherapy was appropriate for the treatment of locally advanced uterine cervix cancer. Also, the response after treatment and OTT are significant prognostic factors.
Radiotherapy; Advanced cancer of the uterine cervix; High-dose rate brachytherapy
To estimate the rate of late grade 3 or greater genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events (AEs) following treatment with external beam radiation therapy and prostate high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
Methods and Materials
Each participating institution submitted CT based HDR brachytherapy dosimetry data electronically for credentialing and for each study patient. Patients with locally confined T1c-T3b prostate cancer were eligible for this study. All patients were treated with 45 Gy in 25 fractions from external beam radiotherapy and one HDR implant delivering 19 Gy in 2 fractions. All AEs were graded according to CTCAEv3.0. Late GU/ GI AEs were defined as those occurring more than nine months from the start of the protocol treatment, in patients with at least 18 months of potential follow-up.
A total of 129 patients from 14 institutions were enrolled in this study. 125 patients were eligible and AE data was available for 112 patients. The pretreatment characteristics of the patients were as follows: T1c-T2c 91%, T3a-T3b 9%, PSA ≤ 10 70%, PSA >10-≤20 30%, GS 2-6 10%, GS 7 72%, and GS 8-10 18%. At a median follow-up time of 29.6 months, 3 acute and 4 late grade 3 GU/GI AEs were reported. The estimated rate of late grade 3-5 GU and GI AE at 18 months was 2.56%.
This is the first prospective, multi-institutional trial of CT based HDR brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy. The technique and doses used in this study resulted in acceptable levels of adverse events.
Prostate cancer; High Dose Rate; Brachytherapy; Prospective multi-institutional clinical trial
Intracavitary brachytherapy is an integral part of radiotherapy for locally advanced gynecologic malignancies. A dosimetric intercomparison of high dose rate intracavitary brachytherapy (HDR_BT) and intensity-modulated radiotherapy in cervical carcinoma has been made in the present study. CT scan images of 10 patients treated with HDR_BT were used for this study. A sliding-window IMRT (IMRT_SW) and step-and-shoot IMRT plans were generated using 6-MV X-rays. The cumulative dose volume histograms of target, bladder, rectum and normal tissue were analyzed for both techniques and dose distributions were compared. It was seen that the pear-shaped dose distribution characteristic of intracavitary brachytherapy with sharp dose fall-off outside the target could be achieved with IMRT. The integral dose to planning target volume was significantly higher with HDR_BT in comparison with IMRT. Significant differences between the two techniques were seen for doses to 1 cc and 2 cc of rectum, while the differences in 1 cc and 2 cc doses to bladder were not significant. The integral doses to the nontarget critical and normal structures were smaller with HDR_BT and with IMRT. It is concluded that IMRT can be the choice of treatment in case of non-availability of HDR brachytherapy facilities or when noninvasive treatments are preferred
Cervical carcinoma; high dose rate; intensity-modulated radiotherapy; intracavitary brachytherapy
To clarify the significant clinicopathological and postdosimetric parameters to predict PSA bounce in patients who underwent low-dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR-brachytherapy) for prostate cancer.
We studied 200 consecutive patients who received LDR-brachytherapy between July 2004 and November 2008. Of them, 137 patients did not receive neoadjuvant or adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy. One hundred and forty-two patients were treated with LDR-brachytherapy alone, and 58 were treated with LDR-brachytherapy in combination with external beam radiation therapy. The cut-off value of PSA bounce was 0.1 ng/mL. The incidence, time, height, and duration of PSA bounce were investigated. Clinicopathological and postdosimetric parameters were evaluated to elucidate independent factors to predict PSA bounce in hormone-naïve patients who underwent LDR-brachytherapy alone.
Fifty patients (25%) showed PSA bounce and 10 patients (5%) showed PSA failure. The median time, height, and duration of PSA bounce were 17 months, 0.29 ng/mL, and 7.0 months, respectively. In 103 hormone-naïve patients treated with LDR-brachytherapy alone, and univariate Cox proportional regression hazard model indicated that age and minimal percentage of the dose received by 30% and 90% of the urethra were independent predictors of PSA bounce. With a multivariate Cox proportional regression hazard model, minimal percentage of the dose received by 90% of the urethra was the most significant parameter of PSA bounce.
Minimal percentage of the dose received by 90% of the urethra was the most significant predictor of PSA bounce in hormone-naïve patients treated with LDR-brachytherapy alone.
Prostate cancer; Brachytherapy; PSA bounce; Post-dosimetry; UD90 (%)
Purpose: To evaluated prognostic factors and impact of the quality of planning of high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR-BT) for patients with local or locally advanced prostate cancer treated with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and HDR-BT.
Methods and Materials: Between 1997 and 2005, 209 patients with biopsy proven prostate adenocarcinoma were treated with localized EBRT and HDR-BT at the Department of Radiation-Oncology, Hospital A. C. Camargo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Patient's age, Gleason score (GS), clinical stage (CS), initial PSA (iPSA), risk group for biochemical failure (GR), doses of EBRT and HDR-BT, use of three-dimensional planning for HDR-BT (3DHDR) and the Biological Effective Dose (BED) were evaluated as prognostic factors for biochemical control (bC).
Results: Median age and median follow-up time were 68 and 5.3 years, respectively. Median EBRT and HDR-BT doses were 45 Gy and 20 Gy. The crude bC at 3.3 year was 94.2%. For the Low, intermediate and high risk patients the bC rates at 3.3 years were 91.5%, 90.2% and 88.5%, respectively. Overall survival (OS) and disease specific survival rates at 3.3 years were 97.8% and 98.4%, respectively. On univariate analysis the prognostic factors related bC were GR (p= 0.040), GS ≤ 6 (p= 0.002), total dose of HDR-BT ≥ 20 Gy (p< 0.001), 3DHDR (p< 0.001), BED-HDR ≥ 99 Gy1.5 (p<0.001) and BED-TT ≥ 185 (p<0.001). On multivariate analysis the statistical significant predictive factors related to bC were RG (p< 0.001), HDR-BT ≥ 20 Gy (p=0.008) and 3DHDR (p<0.001).
Conclusions: we observed that the bC rates correlates with the generally accepted risk factors described in the literature. Dose escalation, evaluated through the BED, and the quality of planning of HDR-BT are also important predictive factors when treating prostate cancer.
high-dose rate brachytherapy; external beam radiotherapy; prostate cancer; RTOG-ASTRO Phoenix; biochemical failure; biochemical control
Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) has been widely used for guiding prostate implants, but not much for interstitial brachytherapy (IBT) of cervix cancer. The aim of our study is to report our experience with TRUS guided high dose rate (HDR) IBT in patients with carcinoma of uterine cervix.
During the year 2005-2006, 25 patients of cervical cancer not suitable for intracavitary radiotherapy (ICRT), were enrolled in this prospective study. We used B-K Medical USG machine (Falcon 2101) equipped with a TRUS probe (8658) having a transducer of 7.5 MHz for IBT. Post procedure, a CT scan was done for verification of needle position and treatment planning. Two weekly sessions of HDR IBT of 8-10 Gy each were given after pelvic external beam radiation therapy.
A total of 40 IBT procedures were performed in 25 patients. Average duration of implant procedure was 50 minutes. There was no uterine perforation in any of 11 patients in whom central tandem was used. CT scan did not show needle perforation of bladder/rectum in any of the patients. During perioperative period, only 1 procedure (2.5%) was associated with hematuria which stopped within 6 hours. Severe late toxicity was observed in 3 (12%) patients. Overall pelvic control rate was 64%.
Our experience suggests that TRUS is a practical and effective imaging device for guiding the IBT procedure of cervical cancer patients. It helps in accurate placements of needles thus avoiding the injury to normal pelvic structures.
Interstitial brachytherapy; Cervical neoplasms; Transrectal ultrasound
The purpose of this work was the biological comparison between Low Dose Rate (LDR) and Pulsed Dose Rate (PDR) in cervical cancer regarding the discontinuation of the afterloading system used for the LDR treatments at our Institution since December 2009.
Material and methods
In the first phase we studied the influence of the pulse dose and the pulse time in the biological equivalence between LDR and PDR treatments using the Linear Quadratic Model (LQM). In the second phase, the equivalent dose in 2 Gy/fraction (EQD2) for the tumor, rectum and bladder in treatments performed with both techniques was evaluated and statistically compared. All evaluated patients had stage IIB cervical cancer and were treated with External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT) plus two Brachytherapy (BT) applications. Data were collected from 48 patients (26 patients treated with LDR and 22 patients with PDR).
In the analyses of the influence of PDR parameters in the biological equivalence between LDR and PDR treatments (Phase 1), it was calculated that if the pulse dose in PDR was kept equal to the LDR dose rate, a small the-rapeutic loss was expected. If the pulse dose was decreased, the therapeutic window became larger, but a correction in the prescribed dose was necessary. In PDR schemes with 1 hour interval between pulses, the pulse time did not influence significantly the equivalent dose. In the comparison between the groups treated with LDR and PDR (Phase 2) we concluded that they were not equivalent, because in the PDR group the total EQD2 for the tumor, rectum and bladder was smaller than in the LDR group; the LQM estimated that a correction in the prescribed dose of 6% to 10% was ne-cessary to avoid therapeutic loss.
A correction in the prescribed dose was necessary; this correction should be achieved by calculating the PDR dose equivalent to the desired LDR total dose.
brachytherapy; cervical cancer; LDR; PDR; EQD2; LQM
To determine current practice patterns with regard to gynecologic high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy among international members of the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup (GCIG) in Japan/Korea (Asia), Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), Europe (E) and North America (NAm).
Materials and Methods
A 32-item survey was developed requesting information on brachytherapy practice patterns and standard management for Stage IB-IVA cervical cancer. The chair of each GCIG member cooperative group selected radiation oncology members to receive the survey.
A total of 72 responses were analyzed; 61 respondents (85%) utilized HDR. The three most common HDR brachytherapy fractionation regimens for Stage IB-IIA patients were 6 Gy for 5 fractions (18%), 6 Gy × 4 (15%), 7 Gy × 3 (11%), and for Stage IIB-IVA patients were 6 Gy for 5 fractions (19%), 7 Gy × 4 (8%), and 7 Gy × 3 (8%). Overall, the mean combined external-beam and brachytherapy equivalent dose (EQD2) was 81.1 (standard deviation [SD], 10.16). The mean EQD2 recommended for Stage IB-IIA patients was 78.9 Gy (SD, 10.7) and for Stage IIB-IVA was 83.3 Gy (SD, 11.2) (p=0.02). By region, the mean combined EQD2 was: Asia, 71.2 Gy (SD, 12.65); ANZ, 81.18 (SD, 4.96); E, 83.24 (SD, 10.75); and NAm, 81.66 (SD, 6.05; p=0.02 for Asia vs. other regions). The ratio of brachytherapy to total prescribed dose was significantly higher for Japan (p=0.0002).
Although fractionation patterns may vary, the overall mean dose administered for cervical cancer is similar in Australia/New Zealand, Europe and North America, with practitioners in Japan administering a significantly lower external-beam dose but higher brachytherapy dose to the cervix. Given common goals, standardization should be possible in future clinical trials.
brachytherapy; cervical cancer; radiation dose
Iridium-192 is widely used for high-dose rate brachytherapy. Co-60 source with similar geometric and dosimetric properties are now available. It has a longer half life but higher energy than Iridium-192. If Co-60 source can produce similar results, it will be more economical for low resource settings.
To evaluate the acute gastrointestinal and genitourinary toxicity associated with Co-60 source in the brachytherapy of cervical cancer.
Seventy patients with cervical cancer received 45 Gy in 22 fractions of pelvic external beam radiotherapy and 19.5 Gy in 3 fractions of HDR with Co-60 source using tandem and ring applicators with 6 courses of cisplatin 50 mg/m2 and 5 fluorouracil 1000 mg/m2 every 3 weeks Toxicity was scored using NCI-CTC version 4.0.
The median total BED (Gy10) for tumor was 86.2 (84.4–88.8) while that for rectum (BED Gy3) was 124.4 (120–133). Two patients (3%) had grade 3 gastrointestinal toxicity while all others had ≤grade 2 toxicity and this is comparable with previous results.
Co-60 as HDR brachytherapy source is tolerable and is economical for low resource settings.
HDR brachytherapy; Co-60 source; cervical cancer; acute toxicity
RTOG 95-17 is a prospective Phase II cooperative group trial of APBI alone using multicatheter brachytherapy following lumpectomy in select early stage breast cancers. Tumor control and survival outcomes are reported.
Materials and Methods:
Eligibility criteria included stage I/II breast carcinoma confirmed to be <3cm, unifocal, invasive non-lobular histology with 0-3 positive axillary nodes without extracapsular extension. APBI treatment was delivered with either Low Dose Rate (LDR) (45 Gy in 3.5-5 days) or High Dose Rate (HDR) (34 Gy in 10 BID fractions over 5 days). Endpoints evaluated included in-breast control, regional control, mastectomy-free rate, mastectomy-free survival, disease-free survival and overall survival. The study was designed to analyze the HDR and LDR groups separately and without comparison.
Between 1997 and 2000, 100 patients were accrued and 99 were eligible; 66 treated with HDR and 33 treated with LDR. Eighty seven patients had T1 lesions and 12 had T2 lesions. Seventy nine were pathologically N0 and 20 were N1. Median follow-up in the HDR group is 6.14 years with the 5-year estimates of in-breast, regional and contralateral failure rates of 3%, 5% and 2%, respectively. The LDR group experienced similar results with a median follow-up of 6.22 years. The 5-year estimates of in-breast, regional and contralateral failure rates of 6%, 0% and 6%, respectively.
Patients treated with multicatheter partial breast brachytherapy on this trial experienced excellent in-breast control rates and overall outcome that compare to reports from APBI studies with similar extended follow-up.
Brachytherapy; breast cancer; breast cancer trials; radiation therapy for breast cancer; accelerated partial breast irradiation
To induce fast relief of dysphagia in patients with oesophageal cancer high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy was applied before external radiotherapy in a prospective study. Seventy-four patients with inoperable oesophageal cancer (36 squamous cell, 38 adenocarcinoma) were treated with a combination of 10 Gy HDR brachytherapy, followed by 40 Gy in 4 weeks external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), starting 2 weeks later. Tumour response, as measured by endoscopy and/or barium swallow, revealed complete remission in 21 and partial response in 38 patients (overall response rate 80%). Improvement of dysphagia was induced by brachytherapy within a few days in 39%, and achieved at the end of treatment in 70% of patients. Further weight loss was prevented in 39 of the 59 patients who presented with weight loss. Pain at presentation improved in 12 out of 25 patients. Median survival was 9 months. No differences in either response rate or survival were found in squamous cell or adenocarcinoma. Side-effects were either acute with minimal discomfort in 32 (42%) or late with painful ulceration in five patients (7%), occurring after a median of 4 months. A fistula developed in six patients, all with concurrent tumour. In conclusion, brachytherapy before EBRT was a safe and effective procedure to induce rapid relief of dysphagia, especially when combined with EBRT.
Orthogonal film-based treatment planning is the most commonly adopted standard practice of treatment planning for cancer of the uterine cervix using high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR). This study aims at examining the variation in rectal and bladder doses when the same set of orthogonal films was given to different observers. Five physicists were given 35 pairs of orthogonal films obtained from patients who had undergone HDR brachytherapy. They were given the same instructions and asked to plan the case assuming the tumor was centrally placed, using the treatment-planning system, PLATO BPS V13.2. A statistically significant difference was observed in the average rectal (F = 3.407, P = 0.01) and bladder (F = 3.284, P = 0.013) doses and the volumes enclosed by the 100% isodose curve (P < 0.01) obtained by each observer. These variations may be attributed to the differences in the reconstruction of applicators, the selection of source positions in ovoids and the intrauterine (IU) tube, and the differences in the selection of points especially for the rectum, from lateral radiographs. These variations in planning seen within a department can be avoided if a particular source pattern is followed in the intrauterine tube, unless a specific situation demands a change. Variations in the selection of rectal points can be ruled out if the posterior vaginal surface is clearly seen.
High dose rate brachytherapy; interobserver variation; uterine cervix
The optimal dosimetric parameters and planning techniques for high-dose-rate vaginal brachytherapy (HDR-VB) are unclear. Our aim was to evaluate the utility of bladder and rectal dosimetry for patients receiving HDR-VB for postoperative treatment of endometrial carcinoma.
Material and methods
Patients with endometrial cancer who underwent postoperative HDR-VB from January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2010 were included. All patients underwent primary surgery consisting of total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophrectomy (TH-BSO) with or without lymph node dissection and were treated with HDR-VB without pelvic external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or chemotherapy. Demographic, pathologic, dosimetric and clinical data were collected.
One hundred patients were identified with the majority of patients receiving HDR-VB in 700 cGy × 3 fractions (45%) or 550 cGy x 4 fractions (53%). No plan was altered based on bladder dosimetry at the time of planning. The rate of acute urinary reactions (< 90 days from beginning of RT) grades 1 and 2 were 14% and 2%, respectively. The rate of late urinary reactions (> 90 days after RT) grades 1 and 2 were 7% and 3%, respectively. Dose to the bladder point did not correlate with urinary toxicity. No rectal toxicity was reported by patients receiving HDR-VB.
In the setting of HDR-VB without EBRT, the measured dose to the bladder point does not predict urinary toxicity and is very unlikely to indicate the need to change the treatment plan. The treatment of endometrial carcinoma utilizing HDR-VB alone is associated with very low rates of high-grade acute or late bladder toxicity.
endometrial cancer; high-dose-rate; brachytherapy
Objectives: Some patients are medically unfit for or averse to undergoing a brachytherapy boost as part of cervical cancer radiotherapy. In order to be able to definitively treat these patients, we assessed whether we could achieve a boost plan that would mimic our brachytherapy plans using external beam radiotherapy.
Methods: High dose rate brachytherapy plans of 20 patients with stage IIB cervical cancer treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy were included in this study. Patients had undergone computer tomography (CT) simulations with tandem and ovoids in place. Point “A” dose was 600–700 cGy. We attempted to replicate the boost dose distribution from brachytherapy plans using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA, USA), volumetric modulated arc therapy (Rapid Arc, Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA, USA), or TomoTherapy (Accuray, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, USA) with the brachytherapy 100% isodose line as our target. Target coverage, normal tissue dose, and brachytherapy point doses were compared with ANOVA. Two-sided p-values ≤0.05 were considered significant.
Results: External beam plans had excellent planning target volume (PTV) coverage, with no difference in mean PTV V95% among planning techniques (range 98–100%). External beam plans had lower bladder Dmax, small intestine Dmax, and vaginal mucosal point dose than brachytherapy plans, with no difference in bladder point dose, mean bladder dose, mean small intestine dose, or rectal dose. Femoral head dose, parametria point dose, and pelvic sidewall point dose were higher with external beam techniques than brachytherapy.
Conclusions: External beam plans had comparable target coverage and potential for improved sparing of most normal tissues compared to tandem and ovoid brachytherapy.
cervical cancer; brachytherapy; external beam radiotherapy
A survey of quality control (QC) currently undertaken in UK radiotherapy centres for high dose rate (HDR) and pulsed dose rate (PDR) brachytherapy has been conducted. The purpose was to benchmark current accepted practice of tests, frequencies and tolerances to assure acceptable HDR/PDR equipment performance. It is 20 years since a similar survey was conducted in the UK and the current review is timed to coincide with a revision of the IPEM Report 81 guidelines for quality control in radiotherapy.
Material and methods
All radiotherapy centres in the UK were invited by email to complete a comprehensive questionnaire on their current brachytherapy QC practice, including: equipment type, patient workload, source calibration method, level of image guidance for planning, prescribing practices, QC tests, method used, staff involved, test frequencies, and acceptable tolerance limits.
Survey data was acquired between June and August 2012. Of the 64 centres invited, 47 (73%) responded, with 31 centres having brachytherapy equipment (3 PDR) and fully completing the survey, 13 reporting no HDR/PDR brachytherapy, and 3 intending to commence HDR brachytherapy in the near future. All centres had comprehensive QC schedules in place and there was general agreement on key test frequencies and tolerances. Greatest discord was whether source strength for treatment planning should be derived from measurement, as at 58% of centres, or from the certified value, at 42%. IPEM Report 81 continues to be the most frequently cited source of QC guidance, followed by ESTRO Booklet No. 8.
A comprehensive survey of QC practices for HDR/PDR brachytherapy in UK has been conducted. This is a useful reference to which centres may benchmark their own practice. However, individuals should take a risk-assessment based approach, employing full knowledge of local equipment, clinical procedures and available test equipment in order to determine individual QC needs.
high dose rate (HDR); brachytherapy; quality control (QC); quality assurance (QA); survey