Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2010 Nov 15;78(4):1244-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.01.039.

Hippocampal-sparing whole-brain radiotherapy: a "how-to" technique using helical tomotherapy and linear accelerator-based intensity-modulated radiotherapy.

Author information

Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison, WI 53792, USA.



Sparing the hippocampus during cranial irradiation poses important technical challenges with respect to contouring and treatment planning. Herein we report our preliminary experience with whole-brain radiotherapy using hippocampal sparing for patients with brain metastases.


Five anonymous patients previously treated with whole-brain radiotherapy with hippocampal sparing were reviewed. The hippocampus was contoured, and hippocampal avoidance regions were created using a 5-mm volumetric expansion around the hippocampus. Helical tomotherapy and linear accelerator (LINAC)-based intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment plans were generated for a prescription dose of 30 Gy in 10 fractions.


On average, the hippocampal avoidance volume was 3.3 cm(3), occupying 2.1% of the whole-brain planned target volume. Helical tomotherapy spared the hippocampus, with a median dose of 5.5 Gy and maximum dose of 12.8 Gy. LINAC-based IMRT spared the hippocampus, with a median dose of 7.8 Gy and maximum dose of 15.3 Gy. On a per-fraction basis, mean dose to the hippocampus (normalized to 2-Gy fractions) was reduced by 87% to 0.49 Gy(2) using helical tomotherapy and by 81% to 0.73 Gy(2) using LINAC-based IMRT. Target coverage and homogeneity was acceptable with both IMRT modalities, with differences largely attributed to more rapid dose fall-off with helical tomotherapy.


Modern IMRT techniques allow for sparing of the hippocampus with acceptable target coverage and homogeneity. Based on compelling preclinical evidence, a Phase II cooperative group trial has been developed to test the postulated neurocognitive benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center