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Radiat Oncol. 2009 Jul 10;4:22. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-4-22.

Implications of a high-definition multileaf collimator (HD-MLC) on treatment planning techniques for stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): a planning study.

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Department of Radiation Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.



To assess the impact of two multileaf collimator (MLC) systems (2.5 and 5 mm leaf widths) on three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy, and dynamic conformal arc techniques for stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) of liver and lung lesions.


Twenty-nine SBRT plans of primary liver (n=11) and lung (n=18) tumors were the basis of this study. Five-millimeter leaf width 120-leaf Varian Millennium (M120) MLC-based plans served as reference, and were designed using static conformal beams (3DCRT), sliding-window intensity-modulated beams (IMRT), or dynamic conformal arcs (DCA). Reference plans were either re-optimized or recomputed, with identical planning parameters, for a 2.5-mm width 120-leaf BrainLAB/Varian high-definition (HD120) MLC system. Dose computation was based on the anisotropic analytical algorithm (AAA, Varian Medical Systems) with tissue heterogeneity taken into account. Each plan was normalized such that 100% of the prescription dose covered 95% of the planning target volume (PTV). Isodose distributions and dose-volume histograms (DVHs) were computed and plans were evaluated with respect to target coverage criteria, normal tissue sparing criteria, as well as treatment efficiency.


Dosimetric differences achieved using M120 and the HD120 MLC planning were generally small. Dose conformality improved in 51.7%, 62.1% and 55.2% of the IMRT, 3DCRT and DCA cases, respectively, with use of the HD120 MLC system. Dose heterogeneity increased in 75.9%, 51.7%, and 55.2% of the IMRT, 3DCRT and DCA cases, respectively, with use of the HD120 MLC system. DVH curves demonstrated a decreased volume of normal tissue irradiated to the lower (90%, 50% and 25%) isodose levels with the HD120 MLC.


Data derived from the present comparative assessment suggest dosimetric merit of the high definition MLC system over the millennium MLC system. However, the clinical significance of these results warrants further investigation in order to determine whether the observed dosimetric advantages translate into outcome improvements.

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