Targeted total marrow irradiation using three-dimensional image-guided tomographic intensity-modulated radiation therapy: an alternative to standard total body irradiation

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2006 Mar;12(3):306-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2005.10.026.


Total body irradiation (TBI) is an important part of bone marrow transplantation conditioning regimens. In TBI, dose escalation is difficult, because of associated normal organ toxicities. A method to deliver a more targeted dose of TBI preferentially to sites of greatest tumor burden is needed to reduce the dose to normal organs, reduce toxicities, and permit dose escalation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate, through a dosimetric analysis, the potential advantages and feasibility of selectively delivering targeted myeloablative doses of radiation to bone and marrow using a recently developed image-guided tomographic intensity-modulated radiation therapy delivery system (helical tomotherapy). Whole-body computed tomography datasets from 3 patients, age 5, 20, and 53 years, were used for treatment planning studies to evaluate 2 targeted TBI strategies: total marrow irradiation (TMI), in which the target region was defined as the skeletal bone, and total marrow and lymphoid irradiation (TMLI), in which the target regions were defined as bone, major lymph node chains, liver, spleen, and sanctuary sites, such as brain. Organ doses and dose distributions were compared with those in conventional TBI. A 1.7- to 7.5-fold reduction in median organ doses was observed with TMI and TMLI compared with conventional TBI. With this more targeted approach, a dose-volume histogram analysis predicted the potential to escalate the dose to bone (and containing marrow) up to 20 Gy, while maintaining doses to normal organs at lower levels than in conventional TBI to 12 Gy. Results were similar for the adult and pediatric patients, indicating that this form of targeted TBI will be applicable to most patients regardless of frame size. TMI to 10 Gy was delivered as part of a tandem transplant regimen to the 53-year-old patient with multiple myeloma. Clinical results confirmed the treatment planning predictions. After TMI, the patient experienced the expected blood count nadir, followed by successful engraftment. Grade 2 nausea and grade 1 emesis occurred only briefly on day 2 of TMI. Skin erythema, oral mucositis, esophagitis, and enteritis were not observed. This report demonstrates the feasibility and potential dosimetric advantages of selectively delivering myeloablative doses of radiation to bone and marrow using an image-guided tomographic intensity-modulated radiation therapy delivery system. Organ doses are substantially lower than those associated with standard TBI and predict the potential to significantly reduce associated toxicities and allow for dose escalation. The results also suggest that this form of targeted TBI may have potential advantages over other forms of targeted TBI, such as radioimmunotherapy or bone-seeking radionuclide therapy. Ongoing clinical trials will define the maximum TMI and TMLI doses achievable and define the potential advantages and limitations of this new approach for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / complications
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnostic imaging*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / radiotherapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Myeloma / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed