Therapeutic analysis of high-dose-rate 192Ir vaginal cuff brachytherapy for endometrial cancer using a cylindrical target volume model and varied cancer cell distributions
Purpose: To evaluate high-dose-rate (HDR) vaginal cuff brachytherapy (VCBT) in the treatment of endometrial cancer in a cylindrical target volume with either a varied or a constant cancer cell distributions using the linear quadratic (LQ) model. Methods: A Monte Carlo (MC) technique was used to calculate the 3D dose distribution of HDR VCBT over a variety of cylinder diameters and treatment lengths. A treatment planning system (TPS) was used to make plans for the various cylinder diameters, treatment lengths, and prescriptions using the clinical protocol. The dwell times obtained from the TPS were fed into MC. The LQ model was used to evaluate the therapeutic outcome of two brachytherapy regimens prescribed either at 0.5 cm depth (5.5 Gyx4 fractions) or at the vaginal mucosal surface (8.8 Gyx4 fractions) for the treatment of endometrial cancer. An experimentally determined endometrial cancer cell distribution, which showed a varied and resembled a half-Gaussian distribution, was used in radiobiology modeling. The equivalent uniform dose (EUD) to cancer cells was calculated for each treatment scenario. The therapeutic ratio (TR) was defined by comparing VCBT with a uniform dose radiotherapy plan in term of normal cell survival at the same level of cancer cell killing. Calculations of clinical impact were run twice assuming two different types of cancer cell density distributions in the cylindrical target volume: (1) a half-Gaussian or (2) a uniform distribution. Results: EUDs were weakly dependent on cylinder size, treatment length, and the prescription depth, but strongly dependent on the cancer cell distribution. TRs were strongly dependent on the cylinder size, treatment length, types of the cancer cell distributions, and the sensitivity of normal tissue. With a half-Gaussian distribution of cancer cells which populated at the vaginal mucosa the most, the EUDs were between 6.9 Gyx4 and 7.8 Gyx4, the TRs were in the range from (5.0)4 to (13.4)4 for the radiosensitive normal tissue depending on the cylinder size, treatment lengths, prescription depth, and dose as well. However, for a uniform cancer cell distribution, the EUDs were between 6.3 Gyx4 and 7.1 Gyx4, and the TRs were found to be between (1.4)4 and (1.7)4. For the uniformly interspersed cancer and radio-resistant normal cells, the TRs were less than 1. The two VCBT prescription regimens were found to be equivalent in terms of EUDs and TRs. Conclusions: HDR VCBT strongly favors cylindrical target volume with the cancer cell distribution following its dosimetric trend. Assuming a half-Gaussian distribution of cancer cells, the HDR VCBT provides a considerable radiobiological advantage over the external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) in terms of sparing more normal tissues while maintaining the same level of cancer cell killing. But for the uniform cancer cell distribution and radio-resistant normal tissue, the radiobiology outcome of the HDR VCBT does not show an advantage over the EBRT. This study strongly suggests that radiation therapy design should consider the cancer cell distribution inside the target volume in addition to the shape of target
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