Background and purpose: Adaptive image-guided IMRT appears to be a promising approach for dose escalation in pharyngo-laryngeal tumors. In this framework, we assessed in a proof of concept study the impact of anatomic and functional imaging modalities acquired prior and during radiotherapy on the target volume delineation and the dose distribution using helical tomotherapy.
Materials and methods: Ten patients with pharyngo-laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma were treated by concomitant chemo-radiation delivered in 7 weeks. CT, T2-MRI, fat suppressed T2-MRI, and static and dynamic FDG-PET were acquired for each patient before the start of treatment and during radiotherapy, after mean prescribed doses of 14, 25, 35 and 45 Gy. GTVs were manually delineated on CT and MRI images while PET images were automatically segmented by means of a gradient-based method. From these volumes, CTVs and PTVs were derived using consistent guidelines. Simultaneous integrated boost IMRT planning was performed using helical tomotherapy.
Results: GTVs significantly decreased throughout the course of RT for all imaging modalities (p<0.001). Clinically non-significant differences and high correlations were found between GTVs delineated on CT and MRI, irrespective of the sequence used. By contrast, FDG-PET-based GTVs segmented from pre- and per-treatment images were significantly smaller compared to anatomical imaging modalities, without any difference existing between static and dynamic acquisition. These differences in GTVs translated into parallel reductions of both prophylactic and therapeutic CTVs and PTVs. Resulting FDG-PET-based and adaptive IMRT planning reduced the irradiated volumes by 15-40% compared to pre-treatment CT planning (V(90), V(95) and V(100)), but did marginally impact on doses to the OAR such as the spinal cord and the parotid glands.
Conclusions: Adaptive IMRT with FDG-PET images has a significant impact on the delineation of TVs and on the dose distribution in pharyngo-laryngeal tumors. Such an approach might thus be considered for dose escalation strategies.