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Radiother Oncol. 2013 Dec;109(3):437-41. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2013.09.020. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Evaluation of treatment plan quality of IMRT and VMAT with and without flattening filter using Pareto optimal fronts.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Medical University of Vienna / AKH Wien, Vienna, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for Medical Radiation Research for Radiation Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:



To investigate the differences in treatment plan quality of IMRT and VMAT with and without flattening filter using Pareto optimal fronts, for two treatment sites of different anatomic complexity.


Pareto optimal fronts (POFs) were generated for six prostate and head-and-neck cancer patients by stepwise reduction of the constraint (during the optimization process) of the primary organ-at-risk (OAR). 9-static field IMRT and 360°-single-arc VMAT plans with flattening filter (FF) and without flattening filter (FFF) were compared. The volume receiving 5 Gy or more (V5 Gy) was used to estimate the low dose exposure. Furthermore, the number of monitor units (MUs) and measurements of the delivery time (T) were used to assess the efficiency of the treatment plans.


A significant increase in MUs was found when using FFF-beams while the treatment plan quality was at least equivalent to the FF-beams. T was decreased by 18% for prostate for IMRT with FFF-beams and by 4% for head-and-neck cases, but increased by 22% and 16% for VMAT. A reduction of up to 5% of V5 Gy was found for IMRT prostate cases with FFF-beams.


The evaluation of the POFs showed an at least comparable treatment plan quality of FFF-beams compared to FF-beams for both treatment sites and modalities. For smaller targets the advantageous characteristics of FFF-beams could be better exploited.


FFF; Flattening filter free; IMRT; Pareto optimal fronts; VMAT

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