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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1):468-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.10.023. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Esophageal cancer dose escalation using a simultaneous integrated boost technique.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



We previously showed that 75% of radiation therapy (RT) failures in patients with unresectable esophageal cancer are in the gross tumor volume (GTV). We performed a planning study to evaluate if a simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) technique could selectively deliver a boost dose of radiation to the GTV in patients with esophageal cancer.


Treatment plans were generated using four different approaches (two-dimensional conformal radiotherapy [2D-CRT] to 50.4 Gy, 2D-CRT to 64.8 Gy, intensity-modulated RT [IMRT] to 50.4 Gy, and SIB-IMRT to 64.8 Gy) and optimized for 10 patients with distal esophageal cancer. All plans were constructed to deliver the target dose in 28 fractions using heterogeneity corrections. Isodose distributions were evaluated for target coverage and normal tissue exposure.


The 50.4 Gy IMRT plan was associated with significant reductions in mean cardiac, pulmonary, and hepatic doses relative to the 50.4 Gy 2D-CRT plan. The 64.8 Gy SIB-IMRT plan produced a 28% increase in GTV dose and comparable normal tissue doses as the 50.4 Gy IMRT plan; compared with the 50.4 Gy 2D-CRT plan, the 64.8 Gy SIB-IMRT produced significant dose reductions to all critical structures (heart, lung, liver, and spinal cord).


The use of SIB-IMRT allowed us to selectively increase the dose to the GTV, the area at highest risk of failure, while simultaneously reducing the dose to the normal heart, lung, and liver. Clinical implications warrant systematic evaluation.

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