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Radiother Oncol. 2001 Mar;58(3):341-7.

An improved breast irradiation technique using three-dimensional geometrical information and intensity modulation.

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  • 1Department of Radiotherapy, Q.00.118, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.



In spite of the complex geometry of the breast, treatment planning for tangential breast irradiation is conventionally performed using two-dimensional patient anatomy information. The purpose of this work was to develop a new technique which takes the three-dimensional (3D) patient geometry into account.


An intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) technique was developed based on the division of the tangential fields in four multi-leaf collimator (MLC) shaped segments. The shape of these segments was obtained from an equivalent path length map of the irradiated volume. Approximately 88% of the dose was delivered by two open fields covering the whole treated volume. Dose calculations for the IMRT technique and the conventional technique were performed for five patients, using computer tomography (CT) data and a 3D calculation algorithm. A planning target volume (PTV) and ipsilateral lung volume were delineated in these CT data.


All patients showed similar equivalent path length patterns. Analysis of the dose distribution showed an improved dose distribution using the IMRT technique. The dose inhomogeneity in the PTV was 9.0% (range 6.4-11.4%) for the conventional and 7.6% (range 6.5-10.3%) for the IMRT technique. The mean lung dose was reduced for the IMRT technique by approximately 10% compared with the conventional technique.


A new breast irradiation technique has been developed which improves the dose homogeneity within the planning target volume and reduces the dose to the lung. Furthermore, the IMRT technique creates the possibility to improve the field matching in case of multiple field irradiations of the breast and lymph nodes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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