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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Jan 1;46(1):187-94.

Intensity modulation for breast treatment using static multi-leaf collimators.

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  • 1Radiation Oncology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA 01655, USA. LOY@UMMHC.ORG



To achieve more uniform dose distributions in breast cancer treatment using multiple sets of multi-leaf collimator (MLC) defined fields. Dose uniformity for many breast cancer patients can be significantly improved by using two or more sets of portals and the "hot" regions of a traditional treatment can be significantly reduced.


Patients for breast cancer treatment are immobilized with alpha cradle in the traditional arm-up position and have a CT scan in the treatment position. The target volume is delineated on the 5-mm thick CT slices that are obtained from the lower neck to well below the breast target volume. Medial and lateral tangential fields at conventional gantry angles are designed with the aid of digitally reconstructed radiographs (DRRs). The MLC, without collimator rotation, is used to shape the field to spare as much lung as possible. The wedges and relative weights of the beams are optimized to provide the best dose uniformity. For the patients with large dose inhomogeneity, a second set of fields is designed. The weight of the original set of fields is reduced (usually to approximately 90%) so that the "original hot" regions receive the prescription dose; the second set of fields delivers a supplemental dose to the "cold" region, typically approximately 10% of the total dose. The second set of fields has the same beam parameters but "treat" only the part of breast tissue that is "cool." Presently, the design of the reduced field is an iterative process. The process can be extended to more than two sets of portals to obtain the desired dose uniformity.


With 3D planning and multiple MLC fields, dose uniformity in the treatment of breast patients was improved from 7%-22% to approximately 7%-15%. The volume receiving these high doses decreased significantly and shifted from the lung to the target. By keeping the gantry angles and wedges the same for the multiple fields, treatments can be delivered quickly and reliably. The internal mammary nodes (IM) can also be treated without including significant amount of lung or heart in the field.


Dose uniformity can be significantly improved by using this intensity modulation technique to treat certain breast patients. With these static MLC fields creating the intensity modulation, the dose uniformity to the breast can be significantly improved and the hot region in lung reduced. There is no increase in setup complexity. The small increase in treatment time is insignificant.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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