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J Xray Sci Technol. 2010;18(4):443-50. doi: 10.3233/XST-2010-0265.

A treatment planning comparison between proton beam therapy and intensity-modulated x-ray therapy for recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Department of Proton Therapy Center, Zibo Wanjie Cancer Hospital, Zibo, Shandong, China.



A comparative treatment planning study was undertaken between proton beam therapy (PBT) and intensity-modulated x-ray therapy (IMXT) for patients with recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), to assess the potential benefits and limitations of the two treatment modalities.


We retrospectively analyzed seven patients with recurrent NPC treated at our proton center with PBT from 2004 to 2007. Eclipse proton treatment planning system and Eclipse inverse treatment planning system for IMXT were employed. For each patient, the IMXT plan was optimized with nine evenly spaced coplanar fields. Three coplanar beams and passive scattering mode were used for PBT. The dose prescription in cobalt Gray equivalent (CGE) for gross tumor volume (GTV) was 66CGE and for planning target volume (PTV), 62.7CGE. Dose-volume histograms (DVH) were used to evaluate the difference in dosimetric distributions for the target volume and the organs at risk (OARs).


Optimal target volume coverage and similar target conformation were achieved in both PBT and IMXT. Median conformity index was 0.72 and 0.75 (p=0.15) and median inhomogeneity coefficient was 0.14 and 0.10 (p=0.08) for PBT and IMXT, respectively. Dose to OARs was significantly lower in PBT plans than IMXT. Median maximal dose to the brainstem was 27.89CGE(cobalt Gray equivalent) and 42.45Gy (p< 0.01), and the dose to 5% of the brainstem(D5) was 12.83CGE and 19.47Gy (p< 0.001 ), for PBT and IMXT, respectively. Median maximal dose to the spinal cord was 8.38CGE and 22.91Gy (p< 0.004), and the dose to 5% of the spinal cord was 2.18CGE and 13.62Gy (p< 0.001), for PBT and IMXT, respectively.


The use of PBT, when compared with IMXT, resulted in similar levels of tumor conformation. PBT, however, exposed the OARs to a significantly lower dose, effectively sparing the brainstem, spinal cord, optic nerve and chiasm, temporal lobes and parotid glands. The superior dose distributions possible with PBT should translate into reduced morbidity and improved quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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