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Phys Med Biol. 2011 Oct 21;56(20):6693-708. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/20/012. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Study of intensity-modulated photon-electron radiation therapy using digital phantoms.

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  • 1University of California San Francisco Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1600 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-1708, USA.


Intensity-modulated photon-electron radiation therapy (IMPERT) takes advantage of the high conformity of photon intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and low distal dose of electrons to reduce the total energy delivered to healthy tissue, potentially reducing serious side effects including secondary malignancies. This theoretical study was undertaken to elucidate basic principles of IMPERT planning and to help quantify the advantage of IMPERT over photon IMRT. Plans using 6 MV x-rays alone (IMRT) or in combination with 6-21 MeV electron beams (IMPERT) were developed for digital cylindrical water phantoms that included an organ at risk (OAR) situated 0.25 cm below a 5 cm thick planning target volume (PTV), with the top of the PTV positioned up to 4 cm below the surface. Electron beam energy and percentage dose contribution of the electron beam to the total dose were investigated with a flat-bottom PTV. The effect of target shape was investigated with a concave- or convex-bottom PTV positioned at the surface. Air or bone cavities were embedded in the PTV to investigate the effect of tissue inhomogeneity. Dose variations in the electron dose distribution due to tissue inhomogeneity were accurately calculated with Monte Carlo simulation. The preferred electron dose contribution was approximately 50% of the total dose. For all the PTV-OAR scenarios, IMPERT was able to achieve comparable PTV coverage and OAR sparing as IMRT while reducing the energy deposited to the healthy tissue by 6-25%. The IMPERT technique is a clinically viable approach for reducing serious side effects in radiotherapy.

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