Objective.In intensity modulated particle therapy (IMPT), the adoption of spatially and temporally heterogeneous dose distributions allows to decouple the fractionation scheme from the patient anatomy, so that an hypofractionated schedule can be selectively created inside the tumour, while simultaneously exploiting the fractionation effect in the healthy tissues. In this paper, the authors show the reproducibility of the method on a set of prostate patients, quantifying the dependencies of the achievable benefit with respect to conventional and hypofractionated schemes and the sensitivity of the method to setup errors and range uncertainty.Approach.On a cohort of 9 patients, non-uniform IMPT plans were optimised and compared to conventional and hypofractionated schedules. For each patient, the comparison of the three strategies has been based on the output of the cost function used to optimise the treatments. The analysis has been repeated considering differentα/βratios for the tumour, namely 1.5, 3 and 4.5 Gy. For a single patient, setup errors and beam range uncertainty have been analysed: the plans, for each optimisation strategy, have been iteratively forward planned 500 times with randomly varying the patient position in each fraction, and 200 times for systematic range shift.Main results.An average 10% benefit has been shown for the lowestα/βratio considered for the tumour, where the non-uniform schedule generally converges to hypofractionation; the benefit decreases to 5%-7% for higherα/βratios, for which the non-uniform schedule always showed better outcomes with respect to the other fractionation schedules. An increased sensitivity to uncertainty, especially for setup errors, has been shown, which can be associated to the spatial non-uniformity of the dose distributions peculiar of the spatiotemporal plans.Significance.This work represents the first investigation of spatiotemporal fractionation for prostate cancer and the beginning of further investigations before clinical implementation can be considered.
Keywords: biologically effective dose (BED); intensity-modulated particle therapy (IMPT); non-uniform fractionation; spatiotemporal optimisation.
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