Intensity modulated radiotherapy for high risk prostate cancer based on sentinel node SPECT imaging for target volume definition

BMC Cancer. 2005 Jul 28;5:91. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-5-91.


Background: The RTOG 94-13 trial has provided evidence that patients with high risk prostate cancer benefit from an additional radiotherapy to the pelvic nodes combined with concomitant hormonal ablation. Since lymphatic drainage of the prostate is highly variable, the optimal target volume definition for the pelvic lymph nodes is problematic. To overcome this limitation, we tested the feasibility of an intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) protocol, taking under consideration the individual pelvic sentinel node drainage pattern by SPECT functional imaging.

Methods: Patients with high risk prostate cancer were included. Sentinel nodes (SN) were localised 1.5-3 hours after injection of 250 MBq 99mTc-Nanocoll using a double-headed gamma camera with an integrated X-Ray device. All sentinel node localisations were included into the pelvic clinical target volume (CTV). Dose prescriptions were 50.4 Gy (5 x 1.8 Gy / week) to the pelvis and 70.0 Gy (5 x 2.0 Gy / week) to the prostate including the base of seminal vesicles or whole seminal vesicles. Patients were treated with IMRT. Furthermore a theoretical comparison between IMRT and a three-dimensional conformal technique was performed.

Results: Since 08/2003 6 patients were treated with this protocol. All patients had detectable sentinel lymph nodes (total 29). 4 of 6 patients showed sentinel node localisations (total 10), that would not have been treated adequately with CT-based planning ('geographical miss') only. The most common localisation for a probable geographical miss was the perirectal area. The comparison between dose-volume-histograms of IMRT- and conventional CT-planning demonstrated clear superiority of IMRT when all sentinel lymph nodes were included. IMRT allowed a significantly better sparing of normal tissue and reduced volumes of small bowel, large bowel and rectum irradiated with critical doses. No gastrointestinal or genitourinary acute toxicity Grade 3 or 4 (RTOG) occurred.

Conclusion: IMRT based on sentinel lymph node identification is feasible and reduces the probability of a geographical miss. Furthermore, IMRT allows a pronounced sparing of normal tissue irradiation. Thus, the chosen approach will help to increase the curative potential of radiotherapy in high risk prostate cancer patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiometry
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods*
  • Risk
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed