A Retrospective Planning Analysis Comparing Volumetric-Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) to Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) for Radiotherapy Treatment of Prostate Cancer

J Med Imaging Radiat Sci. 2013 Jun;44(2):79-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2012.06.002. Epub 2012 Aug 3.


Purpose: This study aims to compare intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) for the treatment of prostate cancer. Particular focus was placed on the impact IMRT and VMAT have on departmental planning and treatment resources.

Materials and methods: Twenty prostate cancer cases were retrospectively planned to compare 5-field IMRT to VMAT using a single arc (VMAT-1A) and 2 arcs (VMAT-2A). The impact on departmental resources was assessed by comparing the time needed to generate the dose distributions and to deliver the treatment plan. A comparison of plan quality was also performed by comparing homogeneity, conformity, the number of monitor units (MUs), and dose to the organs at risk.

Results: IMRT and VMAT-2A were able to produce adequate plans for all cases. Using VMAT-1A, planning guidelines were achieved in 8 of the 20 cases. IMRT provided an improved dose distribution and the best homogeneity to the planning target volume. Also, the IMRT plans were generated significantly faster than both VMAT techniques. VMAT planning provided significantly improved conformity and used significantly fewer monitor units than IMRT. VMAT-1A treatments were significantly faster than both IMRT and VMAT-2A. VMAT plans delivered lower dose to the bladder and heads of femur, and an increased dose to the rectum in the low dose region.

Conclusion: IMRT may have an advantage over VMAT for the treatment of prostate cancers. This is primarily due to the uncertainty of achieving planning guidelines using VMAT and the extended time needed to generate the VMAT plans.