Optimizing radiotherapy of orbital and paraorbital tumors: intensity-modulated X-ray beams vs. intensity-modulated proton beams

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Jul 1;47(4):1111-9. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(00)00494-6.


Purpose: This study presents a dosimetric optimization effort aiming to compare intensity-modulated (IM) X-rays and IM protons in 4 different orbital and paraorbital tumors. These are most challenging targets for standard radiotherapy due to their close relationship with the eyes and related structures.

Methods and materials: A primary orbital lymphoma, an optic nerve meningioma, a sphenoidal ridge meningioma protruding into the orbit, and a pediatric parameningeal paraorbital rhabdomyosarcoma were selected for the purpose of this study. Planning target volumes (PTVs) and organs at risk (OAR) were defined in each patient CT data set for each tumor site. IM X-ray and IM proton three-dimensional treatment plans were implemented. The following total tumor doses were prescribed: 30 Gy for the orbital lymphoma, 54 Gy for both meningiomas, and 50.4 Gy for the rhabdomyosarcoma case. Dose-volume histograms (DVHs) were obtained for all targets and OAR with both treatment techniques. DVHs were used to predict normal tissue complication probabilities (NTCPs) for the OAR in the vicinity of the tumor.

Results: The PTV coverage was optimal and equally homogeneous with both IM X-rays and IM proton plans in the 4 tumor sites. DVHs for most OAR were better with IM proton beams especially in the low- to mid-dose range region. The integral nontarget dose was lower with IM protons in every case (factor ranging from 1.5 to 1.9). However, predicted NTCPs (for severe late effects) were equally low for both treatment techniques in every tumor site.

Conclusion: Although IM proton plans optimally decreased the dose to the OAR in all tumor sites, both optimized X-ray and proton beams equally succeeded to reduce severe-toxicity prediction risks to less than 5% while optimally treating the PTV.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Meningioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Meningioma / radiotherapy*
  • Optic Nerve Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Optic Nerve Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Orbit
  • Orbital Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbital Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal / methods*
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal / standards
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / radiotherapy*
  • Skull Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Sphenoid Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Protons