Purpose: To determine the incidence of duodenal toxicity in patients receiving intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for treatment of para-aortic nodes and to identify dosimetric parameters predictive of late duodenal toxicity.
Methods and materials: We identified 105 eligible patients with gynecologic malignancies who were treated with IMRT for gross metastatic disease in the para-aortic nodes from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2009. Patients were treated to a nodal clinical target volume to 45 to 50.4 Gy with a boost to 60 to 66 Gy. The duodenum was contoured, and dosimetric data were exported for analysis. Duodenal toxicity was scored according to Radiation Therapy Oncology Group criteria. Univariate Cox proportional hazards analysis and recursive partitioning analysis were used to determine associations between dosimetric variables and time to toxicity and to identify the optimal threshold that separated patients according to risk of toxicity.
Results: Nine of the 105 patients experienced grade 2 to grade 5 duodenal toxicity, confirmed by endoscopy in all cases. The 3-year actuarial rate of any duodenal toxicity was 11.7%. A larger volume of the duodenum receiving 55 Gy (V55) was associated with higher rates of duodenal toxicity. The 3-year actuarial rates of duodenal toxicity with V55 above and below 15 cm(3) were 48.6% and 7.4%, respectively (P<.01). In Cox univariate analysis of dosimetric variables, V55 was associated with duodenal toxicity (P=.029). In recursive partitioning analysis, V55 less than 13.94% segregated all patients with duodenal toxicity.
Conclusions: Dose-escalated IMRT can safely and effectively treat para-aortic nodal disease in gynecologic malignancies, provided that care is taken to limit the dose to the duodenum to reduce the risk of late duodenal toxicity. Limiting V55 to below 15 cm(3) may reduce the risk of duodenal complications. In cases where the treatment cannot be delivered within these constraints, consideration should be given to other treatment approaches such as resection or initial chemotherapy.
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