Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet Oncol. 2019 Mar;20(3):e155-e166. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30034-8.

Management of vertebral radiotherapy dose in paediatric patients with cancer: consensus recommendations from the SIOPE radiotherapy working group.

Author information

Department of Radiation Oncology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of Radiation Oncology, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.
Department of Particle Therapy, University Hospital Essen, West German Proton Therapy Centre Essen, West German Cancer Center, German Cancer Consortium, Essen, Germany.
Department of Radiotherapy, Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, UK.
Pediatric Radiotherapy Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Universität Klinik für Strahlentherapie und Strahlenbiologie, Vienna, Austria.
Hospital Universitari de la Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital (Norwegian Radium Hospital), Oslo, Norway.
Danish Centre for Particle Therapy, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
Proton Therapy Center Czech, Prague, Czech Republic.
Department of Oncology, Cambridge University Hospitals, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Institut Curie, Paris and Orsay, France.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.
Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands; Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Centre François Baclesse, Caen, France.
Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Institut Claudius Regaud, Institut Universitaire du Cancer de Toulouse-Oncopole, Toulouse, France; Toulouse NeuroImaging Center, ToNIC, INSERM Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Saarland University Hospital, Homburg, Germany.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Marseille, Marseille, France.
Proton Therapy Center, Santa Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy.
Radiotherapy Department, Istituto Oncologico Veneto IRCCS, Padua, Italy.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Department of Oncology, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool, UK.
Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK; The Children's Brain Tumour Research Network, University of Manchester, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester, UK.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.


Inhomogeneities in radiotherapy dose distributions covering the vertebrae in children can produce long-term spinal problems, including kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis, and hypoplasia. In the published literature, many often interrelated variables have been reported to affect the extent of potential radiotherapy damage to the spine. Articles published in the 2D and 3D radiotherapy era instructed radiation oncologists to avoid dose inhomogeneity over growing vertebrae. However, in the present era of highly conformal radiotherapy, steep dose gradients over at-risk structures can be generated and thus less harm is caused to patients. In this report, paediatric radiation oncologists from leading centres in 11 European countries have produced recommendations on how to approach dose coverage for target volumes that are adjacent to vertebrae to minimise the risk of long-term spinal problems. Based on available information, it is advised that homogeneous vertebral radiotherapy doses should be delivered in children who have not yet finished the pubertal growth spurt. If dose fall-off within vertebrae cannot be avoided, acceptable dose gradients for different age groups are detailed here. Vertebral delineation should include all primary ossification centres and growth plates, and therefore include at least the vertebral body and arch. For partial spinal radiotherapy, the number of irradiated vertebrae should be restricted as much as achievable, particularly at the thoracic level in young children (<6 years old). There is a need for multicentre research on vertebral radiotherapy dose distributions for children, but until more valid data become available, these recommendations can provide a basis for daily practice for radiation oncologists who have patients that require vertebral radiotherapy.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center