Universal field matching in craniospinal irradiation by a background-dose gradient-optimized method

J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2018 Jan;19(1):46-49. doi: 10.1002/acm2.12204. Epub 2017 Nov 7.


Purpose: The gradient-optimized methods are overcoming the traditional feathering methods to plan field junctions in craniospinal irradiation. In this note, a new gradient-optimized technique, based on the use of a background dose, is described.

Methods: Treatment planning was performed by RayStation (RaySearch Laboratories, Stockholm, Sweden) on the CT scans of a pediatric patient. Both proton (by pencil beam scanning) and photon (by volumetric modulated arc therapy) treatments were planned with three isocenters. An 'in silico' ideal background dose was created first to cover the upper-spinal target and to produce a perfect dose gradient along the upper and lower junction regions. Using it as background, the cranial and the lower-spinal beams were planned by inverse optimization to obtain dose coverage of their relevant targets and of the junction volumes. Finally, the upper-spinal beam was inversely planned after removal of the background dose and with the previously optimized beams switched on.

Results: In both proton and photon plans, the optimized cranial and the lower-spinal beams produced a perfect linear gradient in the junction regions, complementary to that produced by the optimized upper-spinal beam. The final dose distributions showed a homogeneous coverage of the targets.

Discussion: Our simple technique allowed to obtain high-quality gradients in the junction region. Such technique universally works for photons as well as protons and could be applicable to the TPSs that allow to manage a background dose.

Keywords: VMAT; craniospinal irradiation; field junction; proton therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Child
  • Craniospinal Irradiation / methods*
  • Craniospinal Irradiation / standards*
  • Humans
  • Organs at Risk / radiation effects
  • Protons
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Protons