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Phys Med Biol. 2005 Apr 7;50(7):1483-92. Epub 2005 Mar 22.

Effect of patient variation on standard- and hypo-fractionated radiotherapy of prostate cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


Recent publications suggested that the alpha/beta ratio in the well-known linear quadratic (LQ) model could be as low as 1.5 Gy for prostate cancer, indicating that prostate cancer control might be very sensitive to changes in the dose fractionation scheme. This also suggests that the standard-fractionation scheme based on large alpha/beta ratios may not be optimal for the radio-therapeutic management of prostate cancer. Hypo-fractionated radiotherapy for prostate cancer has received more attention recently as an alternative treatment strategy, which may lead to reduced treatment time and cost. However, hypo-fractionated radiotherapy may be more sensitive to patient variation in terms of disease control than standard-fractionated radiotherapy. The variation of LQ parameters alpha and beta for a patient population may compromise the outcome of the treatment. This effect can be studied by the introduction of the sigmaalpha and sigmabeta parameters, which are the standard deviations of Gaussian distributions around alpha0 and beta0. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of patient variation in alpha and beta on tumour control probability for standard- and hypo-fractionated radiotherapy of prostate cancer. The tumour control probability based on the LQ model is calculated using parameters alpha, beta, sigmaalpha and sigmabeta. Our results show that sigmaalpha is an important parameter for radiotherapy fractionation, independent of the alpha/beta ratio. A large sigmaalpha will result in a significant increase in the radiation dose required to achieve the same 95% TCP. Compared with the standard-fractionated scheme, sigmaalpha has a smaller effect on hypo-fractionated treatment at lower alpha/beta ratios. On the other hand, for lower alpha/beta ratios, the beta term also plays a more important role in cell-killing and therefore the patient variation parameter sigmabeta must be considered when designing a new dose fractionation scheme.

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