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1.  Comparison of Intensity-modulated Radiotherapy, Adaptive Radiotherapy, Proton Radiotherapy, and Adaptive Proton Radiotherapy for Treatment of Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer 
Background and Purpose
Various radiotherapy planning methods for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) have been proposed to decrease normal tissue toxicity. We compare IMRT, adaptive IMRT, proton therapy (IMPT), and adaptive IMPT for SCCHN.
Materials and Methods
Initial and re-simulation CT images from 10 consecutive patients with SCCHN were used to quantify dosimetric differences between photon and proton therapy. Contouring was performed on both CTs, and plans (n=40 plans) and dose volume histograms were generated.
The mean GTV volume decreased 53.4% with re-simulation. All plans provided comparable PTV coverage. Compared with IMRT, adaptive IMRT significantly reduced the maximum dose to the mandible (p=0.020) and mean doses to the contralateral parotid gland (p=0.049) and larynx (p=0.049). Compared with IMRT and adaptive IMRT, IMPT significantly lower the maximum doses to the spinal cord (p<0.002 for both) and brainstem (p<0.002 for both) and mean doses to the larynx (p<0.002 for both) and ipsilateral (p=0.004 IMRT, p=0.050 adaptive) and contralateral (p<0.002 IMRT, p=0.010 adaptive) parotid glands. Adaptive IMPT significantly reduced doses to all critical structures compared with IMRT and adaptive IMRT and several critical structures compared with non-adaptive IMPT.
Although adaptive IMRT reduced dose to several normal structures compared with standard IMRT, non-adaptive proton therapy had a more favorable dosimetric profile than IMRT or adaptive IMRT and may obviate the need for adaptive planning. Protons allowed significant sparing of the spinal cord, parotid glands, larynx, and brainstem and should be considered for SCCHN to decrease normal tissue toxicity while still providing optimal tumor coverage.
PMCID: PMC3174314  PMID: 21663988
head and neck cancer; proton therapy; adaptive radiotherapy; IMRT; treatment planning
2.  4-1BB ligand as an effective multifunctional immunomodulator and antigen delivery vehicle for the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines 
Cancer research  2010;70(10):3945-3954.
Therapeutic subunit vaccines based on tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) represent an attractive approach for the treatment of cancer. However, poor immunogenicity of TAAs requires potent adjuvants for therapeutic efficacy. We recently proposed the TNF family costimulatory ligands as potential adjuvants for therapeutic vaccines, and hence generated a soluble form of 4-1BBL chimeric with streptavidin (SA-4-1BBL) that has pleiotropic effects on cells of innate, adaptive, and regulatory immunity. We herein tested whether these effects can translate into effective cancer immunotherapy when SA-4-1BBL was also used as a vehicle to deliver TAAs in vivo to DCs constitutively expressing the 4-1BB receptor. SA-4-1BBL was internalized by DCs upon receptor binding, and immunization with biotinylated antigens conjugated to SA-4-1BBL resulted in increased antigen uptake and cross-presentation by DCs, leading to the generation of effective T cell immune responses. Conjugate vaccines containing human papilloma virus 16 (HPV-16) E7 oncoprotein or survivin as a self TAA had potent therapeutic efficacy against TC-1 cervical and 3LL lung carcinoma tumors, respectively. Therapeutic efficacy of the vaccines was associated with increased CD4+ T and CD8+ T cell effector and memory responses and higher intratumoral CD8+ T effector/CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T regulatory cell ratio. Thus, potent pleiotropic immune functions of SA-4-1BBL combined with its ability to serve as a vehicle to increase delivery of antigens to DCs in vivo endow this molecule with the potential to serve as an effective immunomodulatory component of therapeutic vaccines against cancer and chronic infections.
PMCID: PMC2872136  PMID: 20406989
Costimulation; SA-4-1BBL; Conjugate Vaccines; Adjuvant
4.  Comparison of T2 and FLAIR imaging for target delineation in high grade gliomas 
FLAIR and T2 weighted MRIs are used based on institutional preference to delineate high grade gliomas and surrounding edema for radiation treatment planning. Although these sequences have inherent physical differences there is limited data on the clinical and dosimetric impact of using either or both sequences.
40 patients with high grade gliomas consecutively treated between 2002 and 2008 of which 32 had pretreatment MRIs with T1, T2 and FLAIR available for review were selected for this study. These MRIs were fused with the treatment planning CT. Normal structures, clinical tumor volume (CTV) and planning tumor volume (PTV) were then defined on the T2 and FLAIR sequences. A Venn diagram analysis was performed for each pair of tumor volumes as well as a fractional component analysis to assess the contribution of each sequence to the union volume. For each patient the tumor volumes were compared in terms of total volume in cubic centimeters as well as anatomic location using a discordance index. The overlap of the tumor volumes with critical structures was calculated as a measure of predicted toxicity. For patients with MRI documented failures, the tumor volumes obtained using the different sequences were compared with the recurrent gross tumor volume (rGTV).
The FLAIR CTVs and PTVs were significantly larger than the T2 CTVs and PTVs (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0001 respectively). Based on the discordance index, the abnormality identified using the different sequences also differed in location. Fractional component analysis showed that the intersection of the tumor volumes as defined on both T2 and FLAIR defined the majority of the union volume contributing 63.6% to the CTV union and 82.1% to the PTV union. T2 alone uniquely identified 12.9% and 5.2% of the CTV and PTV unions respectively while FLAIR alone uniquely identified 25.7% and 12% of the CTV and PTV unions respectively. There was no difference in predicted toxicity to normal structures using T2 or FLAIR. At the time of analysis, 26 failures had occurred of which 19 patients had MRIs documenting the recurrence. The rGTV correlated best with the FLAIR CTV but the percentage overlap was not significantly different from that with T2. There was no statistical difference in the percentage overlap with the rGTV and the PTVs generated using either T2 or FLAIR.
Although both T2 and FLAIR MRI sequences are used to define high grade glial neoplasm and surrounding edema, our results show that the volumes generated using these techniques are different and not interchangeable. These differences have bearing on the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and highly conformal treatment as well as on future clinical trials where the bias of using one technique over the other may influence the study outcome.
PMCID: PMC2827477  PMID: 20109218
5.  A dosimetric comparison of four treatment planning methods for high grade glioma 
High grade gliomas (HGG) are typically treated with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Three dimensional (3D) conformal radiotherapy treatment planning is still the main stay of treatment for these patients. New treatment planning methods suggest better dose distributions and organ sparing but their clinical benefit is unclear. The purpose of the current study was to compare normal tissue sparing and tumor coverage using four different radiotherapy planning methods in patients with high grade glioma.
Three dimensional conformal (3D), sequential boost IMRT, integrated boost (IB) IMRT and Tomotherapy (TOMO) treatment plans were generated for 20 high grade glioma patients. T1 and T2 MRI abnormalities were used to define GTV and CTV with 2 and 2.5 cm margins to define PTV1 and PTV2 respectively.
The mean dose to PTV2 but not to PTV1 was less then 95% of the prescribed dose with IB and IMRT plans. The mean doses to the optic chiasm and the ipsilateral globe were highest with 3D plans and least with IB plans. The mean dose to the contralateral globe was highest with TOMO plans. The mean of the integral dose (ID) to the brain was least with the IB plan and was lower with IMRT compared to 3D plans. The TOMO plans had the least mean D10 to the normal brain but higher mean D50 and D90 compared to IB and IMRT plans. The mean D10 and D50 but not D90 were significantly lower with the IMRT plans compared to the 3D plans.
No single treatment planning method was found to be superior to all others and a personalized approach is advised for planning and treating high-grade glioma patients with radiotherapy. Integral dose did not reflect accurately the dose volume histogram (DVH) of the normal brain and may not be a good indicator of delayed radiation toxicity.
PMCID: PMC2774332  PMID: 19845946
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides superior visualization of the prostate and surrounding anatomy, making it the modality of choice for imaging the prostate gland. This pilot study was performed to determine the feasibility and dosimetric quality achieved when placing high-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy catheters under MRI guidance in a standard “closed-bore” 1.5T scanner.
Methods and Materials:
Patients with intermediate-risk and high-risk localized prostate cancer received MRI-guided high-dose-rate brachytherapy boosts before and after a course of external beam radiotherapy. Using a custom visualization and targeting program, the brachytherapy catheters were placed and adjusted under MRI guidance until satisfactory implant geometry was achieved. Inverse treatment planning was performed using high-resolution T2-weighted MRI.
Ten brachytherapy procedures were performed on 5 patients. The median percentage of volume receiving 100% of prescribed minimal peripheral dose (V100) achieved was 94% (mean, 92%; 95% confidence interval, 89–95%). The urethral V125 ranged from 0% to 18% (median, 5%), and the rectal V75 ranged from 0% to 3.1% (median, 0.3%). In all cases, lesions highly suspicious for malignancy could be visualized on the procedural MRI, and extracapsular disease was identified in 2 patients.
High-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy in a standard 1.5T MRI scanner is feasible and achieves favorable dosimetry within a reasonable period with high-quality image guidance. Although the procedure was well tolerated in the acute setting, additional follow-up is required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of this approach.
PMCID: PMC2396328  PMID: 15275727
Prostate cancer; Brachytherapy; MRI; Image guidance
7.  System for Prostate Brachytherapy and Biopsy in a Standard 1.5 T MRI Scanner 
A technique for transperineal high-dose-rate (HDR) prostate brachytherapy and needle biopsy in a standard 1.5 T MRI scanner is demonstrated. In each of eight procedures (in four patients with intermediate to high risk localized prostate cancer), four MRI-guided transperineal prostate biopsies were obtained followed by placement of 14–15 hollow transperineal catheters for HDR brachytherapy. Mean needle-placement accuracy was 2.1 mm, 95% of needle-placement errors were less than 4.0 mm, and the maximum needle-placement error was 4.4 mm. In addition to guiding the placement of biopsy needles and brachytherapy catheters, MR images were also used for brachytherapy treatment planning and optimization. Because 1.5 T MR images are directly acquired during the interventional procedure, dependence on deformable registration is reduced and online image quality is maximized.
PMCID: PMC2396258  PMID: 15334592
MRI; brachytherapy; prostate; prostatic neoplasms; biopsy; interventional MRI
8.  Early observed transient prostate-specific antigen elevations on a pilot study of external beam radiation therapy and fractionated MRI guided High Dose Rate brachytherapy boost 
To report early observation of transient PSA elevations on this pilot study of external beam radiation therapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy boost.
Materials and methods
Eleven patients with intermediate-risk and high-risk localized prostate cancer received MRI guided HDR brachytherapy (10.5 Gy each fraction) before and after a course of external beam radiotherapy (46 Gy). Two patients continued on hormones during follow-up and were censored for this analysis. Four patients discontinued hormone therapy after RT. Five patients did not receive hormones. PSA bounce is defined as a rise in PSA values with a subsequent fall below the nadir value or to below 20% of the maximum PSA level. Six previously published definitions of biochemical failure to distinguish true failure from were tested: definition 1, rise >0.2 ng/mL; definition 2, rise >0.4 ng/mL; definition 3, rise >35% of previous value; definition 4, ASTRO defined guidelines, definition 5 nadir + 2 ng/ml, and definition 6, nadir + 3 ng/ml.
Median follow-up was 24 months (range 18–36 mo). During follow-up, the incidence of transient PSA elevation was: 55% for definition 1, 44% for definition 2, 55% for definition 3, 33% for definition 4, 11% for definition 5, and 11% for definition 6.
We observed a substantial incidence of transient elevations in PSA following combined external beam radiation and HDR brachytherapy for prostate cancer. Such elevations seem to be self-limited and should not trigger initiation of salvage therapies. No definition of failure was completely predictive.
PMCID: PMC1564026  PMID: 16914054
9.  Intra- and inter-radiation therapist reproducibility of daily isocenter verification using prostatic fiducial markers 
We sought to determine the intra- and inter-radiation therapist reproducibility of a previously established matching technique for daily verification and correction of isocenter position relative to intraprostatic fiducial markers (FM).
Materials and methods
With the patient in the treatment position, anterior-posterior and left lateral electronic images are acquired on an amorphous silicon flat panel electronic portal imaging device. After each portal image is acquired, the therapist manually translates and aligns the fiducial markers in the image to the marker contours on the digitally reconstructed radiograph. The distances between the planned and actual isocenter location is displayed. In order to determine the reproducibility of this technique, four therapists repeated and recorded this operation two separate times on 20 previously acquired portal image datasets from two patients. The data were analyzed to obtain the mean variability in the distances measured between and within observers.
The mean and median intra-observer variability ranged from 0.4 to 0.7 mm and 0.3 to 0.6 mm respectively with a standard deviation of 0.4 to 1.0 mm. Inter-observer results were similar with a mean variability of 0.9 mm, a median of 0.6 mm, and a standard deviation of 0.7 mm. When using a 5 mm threshold, only 0.5% of treatments will undergo a table shift due to intra or inter-observer error, increasing to an error rate of 2.4% if this threshold were reduced to 3 mm.
We have found high reproducibility with a previously established method for daily verification and correction of isocenter position relative to prostatic fiducial markers using electronic portal imaging.
PMCID: PMC1436003  PMID: 16722575

Results 1-11 (11)