Dosimetric effects of weight loss or gain during volumetric modulated arc therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Med Dosim. Autumn 2013;38(3):251-4. doi: 10.1016/j.meddos.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


Weight loss or gain during the course of radiation therapy for prostate cancer can alter the planned dose to the target volumes and critical organs. Typically, source-to-surface distance (SSD) measurements are documented by therapists on a weekly basis to ensure that patients' exterior surface and isocenter-to-skin surface distances remain stable. The radiation oncology team then determines whether the patient has undergone a physical change sufficient to require a new treatment plan. The effect of weight change (SSD increase or decrease) on intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) dosimetry is not well known, and it is unclear when rescanning or replanning is needed. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of weight change (SSD increase or decrease) on IMRT or VMAT dose delivery in patients with prostate cancer and to determine the SSD change threshold for replanning. Whether IMRT or VMAT provides better dose stability under weight change conditions was also determined. We generated clinical IMRT and VMAT prostate and seminal vesicle treatment plans for varying SSDs for 10 randomly selected patients with prostate cancer. The differences due to SSD change were quantified by a specific dose change for a specified volume of interest. The target mean dose, decreased or increased by 2.9% per 1-cm SSD decrease or increase in IMRT and by 3.6% in VMAT. If the SSD deviation is more than 1cm, the radiation oncology team should determine whether to continue treatment without modifications, to adjust monitor units, or to resimulate and replan.

Keywords: IMRT; Patient weight loss; Source-to-surface distance; VMAT.

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated*
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss