MR-guided stereotactic radiation therapy for head and neck cancers

Clin Transl Radiat Oncol. 2024 Mar 7:46:100760. doi: 10.1016/j.ctro.2024.100760. eCollection 2024 May.


Purpose: MR-guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) has the advantage of utilizing high soft tissue contrast imaging to track daily changes in target and critical organs throughout the entire radiation treatment course. Head and neck (HN) stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has been increasingly used to treat localized lesions within a shorter timeframe. The purpose of this study is to examine the dosimetric difference between the step-and-shot intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plans on Elekta Unity and our clinical volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans on Varian TrueBeam for HN SBRT.

Method: Fourteen patients treated on TrueBeam sTx with VMAT treatment plans were re-planned in the Monaco treatment planning system for Elekta Unity MR-Linac (MRL). The plan qualities, including target coverage, conformity, homogeneity, nearby critical organ doses, gradient index and low dose bath volume, were compared between VMAT and Monaco IMRT plans. Additionally, we evaluated the Unity adaptive plans of adapt-to-position (ATP) and adapt-to-shape (ATS) workflows using simulated setup errors for five patients and assessed the outcomes of our treated patients.

Results: Monaco IMRT plans achieved comparable results to VMAT plans in terms of target coverage, uniformity and homogeneity, with slightly higher target maximum and mean doses. The critical organ doses in Monaco IMRT plans all met clinical goals; however, the mean doses and low dose bath volumes were higher than in VMAT plans. The adaptive plans demonstrated that the ATP workflow may result in degraded target coverage and OAR doses for HN SBRT, while the ATS workflow can maintain the plan quality.

Conclusion: The use of Monaco treatment planning and online adaptation can achieve dosimetric results comparable to VMAT plans, with the additional benefits of real-time tracking of target volume and nearby critical structures. This offers the potential to treat aggressive and variable tumors in HN SBRT and improve local control and treatment toxicity.

Keywords: Head and neck; MR-guided radiotherapy (MRgRT); Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).