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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Dec 1;69(5):1625-33.

A treatment planning analysis of inverse-planned and forward-planned intensity-modulated radiation therapy in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To compare dose-volume histograms of target volumes and organs at risk in 57 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) with inverse- (IP) or forward-planned (FP) intensity-modulated radiation treatment (IMRT).


The DVHs of 57 patients with NPC with IMRT with or without chemotherapy were reviewed. Thirty-one patients underwent IP IMRT, and 26 patients underwent FP IMRT. Treatment goals were to prescribe a minimum dose of 66-70 Gy for gross tumor volume and 59.4 Gy for planning target volume to greater than 95% of the volume. Multiple selected end points were used to compare dose-volume histograms of the targets, including minimum, mean, and maximum doses; percentage of target volume receiving less than 90% (1-V90%), less than 95% (1-V95%), and greater than 105% (1-V105%). Dose-volume histograms of organs at risk were evaluated with characteristic end points.


Both planning methods provided excellent target coverage with no statistically significant differences found, although a trend was suggested in favor of improved target coverage with IP IMRT in patients with T3/T4 NPC (p = 0.10). Overall, IP IMRT statistically decreased the dose to the parotid gland, temporomandibular joint, brain stem, and spinal cord overall, whereas IP led to a dose decrease to the middle/inner ear in only the T1/T2 subgroup.


Use of IP and FP IMRT can lead to good target coverage while maintaining critical structures within tolerance. The IP IMRT selectively spared these critical organs to a greater degree and should be considered the standard of treatment in patients with NPC, particularly those with T3/T4. The FP IMRT is an effective second option in centers with limited IP IMRT capacity. As a modification of conformal techniques, the human/departmental resources to incorporate FP-IMRT should be nominal.

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