Purpose: Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a novel form of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) optimization that allows the radiation dose to be delivered in a single gantry rotation of up to 360 degrees , using either a constant dose rate (cdr-VMAT) or variable dose rate (vdr-VMAT) during rotation. The goal of this study was to compare VMAT prostate RT plans with three-dimensional conformal RT (3D-CRT) and IMRT plans.
Patients and methods: The 3D-CRT, five-field IMRT, cdr-VMAT, and vdr-VMAT RT plans were created for 10 computed tomography data sets from patients undergoing RT for prostate cancer. The parameters evaluated included the doses to organs at risk, equivalent uniform doses, dose homogeneity and conformality, and monitor units required for delivery of a 2-Gy fraction.
Results: The IMRT and both VMAT techniques resulted in lower doses to normal critical structures than 3D-CRT plans for nearly all dosimetric endpoints analyzed. The lowest doses to organs at risk and most favorable equivalent uniform doses were achieved with vdr-VMAT, which was significantly better than IMRT for the rectal and femoral head dosimetric endpoints (p < 0.05) and significantly better than cdr-VMAT for most bladder and rectal endpoints (p < 0.05). The vdr-VMAT and cdr-VMAT plans required fewer monitor units than did the IMRT plans (relative reduction of 42% and 38%, respectively; p = 0.005) but more than for the 3D-CRT plans (p = 0.005).
Conclusion: The IMRT and VMAT techniques achieved highly conformal treatment plans. The vdr-VMAT technique resulted in more favorable dose distributions than the IMRT or cdr-VMAT techniques, and reduced the monitor units required compared with IMRT.