Application of piecewise VMAT technique to whole-brain radiotherapy with simultaneous integrated boost for multiple metastases

Radiat Oncol. 2022 May 7;17(1):86. doi: 10.1186/s13014-022-02059-6.


Purpose: This study implemented a piecewise volumetric modulated arc therapy (P-VMAT) for realizing whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) for multiple brain metastases (> 40 metastases) with a conventional C-arm linear accelerator.

Materials and methods: This study retrospectively analyzed 10 patients with multiple brain metastases (40-120 metastases, median 76), who underwent WBRT and SIB using helical tomotherapy (HT). The prescribed doses were 40 Gy/20 f and 60 Gy/20 f for WBRT and SIB, respectively. Corresponding new HT plans were designed with P-VMAT using 7 arcs. For each arc, the collimator was rotated to 45°, and the field width was limited to 2.5 cm with 0.5 cm overlap with adjacent arcs. Thus, each arc covered only one section of the brain target volume. A conventional dual arc VMAT (DA-VMAT) plan was also designed. HT, P-VMAT, and DA-VMAT plans were compared using dose distribution reviews and dosimetric parameters. ArcCHECK phantom measurements were performed for verification of P-VMAT plans.

Results: No significant differences in the mean coverage of the whole-brain target and metastases were observed between HT and P-VMAT (p > 0.05). The conformity index for the whole-brain target improved with P-VMAT compared with HT (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the volume of 44 Gy V44 (110% of prescribed dose for WBRT) received for whole-brain significantly reduced with P-VMAT from 38.2 ± 12.9% to 23.3 ± 9.4% (p < 0.05), and the maximum dose for organs at risks such as the hippocampus, optical nerve, optical chiasm, and spinal cord declined with P-VMAT (p < 0.05). Unlike HT and P-VMAT, DA-VMAT was clinically unacceptable because V44 in the whole-brain was too high (54.7 ± 8.2%). The mean absolute dose gamma passing rate for P-VMAT plans was 97.6 ± 1.1% (3%/3 mm criterion, 10%).

Conclusions: P-VMAT is favorable for WBRT and SIB for multiple brain metastases. It provides comparable coverage of whole-brain target and SIB, with better conformity, lower V44, and better dose sparing of organs at risk compared with HT. Furthermore, results show that DA-VMAT fails clinical practice even for a relatively large number of brain metastases with a high degree of plan complexity. The patient specific verification demonstrates the feasibility of P-VMAT for clinical application.

Keywords: Brain metastases; HT; Piecewise VMAT; SIB; WBRT.

MeSH terms

  • Arthrogryposis
  • Brain Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Brain Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Cholestasis
  • Cranial Irradiation / methods
  • Female
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organs at Risk
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / methods
  • Renal Insufficiency
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Arthrogryposis renal dysfunction cholestasis syndrome