ART for head and neck patients: On the difference between VMAT and IMPT

Joanna Góra, Peter Kuess, Markus Stock, Piotr Andrzejewski, Barbara Knäusl, Brigita Paskeviciute, Gabriela Altorjai, Dietmar Georg

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

31 Citations (Scopus)


Anatomical changes in the head-and-neck (H&N) region during the course of treatment can cause deteriorated dose distributions. Different replanning strategies were investigated for volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT).Material and methods. For six H&N patients two repeated computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) (CT 1/MR 1 at week 2 and CT 2/MR 2 at week 4) scans were acquired additionally to the initial planning CT/MR. Organs-at-risk (OARs) and three targets (CTV 70Gy, CTV 63Gy, CTV 56Gy) were delineated on MRs and transferred to respective CT data set. Simultaneously integrated boost plans were created using VMAT (two arcs) and IMPT (four beams). To assess the need of replanning the initial VMAT and IMPT plans were recalculated on repeated CTs. Furthermore, VMAT and IMPT plans were replanned on the repeated CTs. A Demon algorithm was used for deformable registration of the repeated CTs with the initial CT and utilized for dose accumulation. Total dose estimations were performed to compare ART versus standard treatment strategies.Results. Dosimetric evaluation of recalculated plans on CT 1 and CT 2 showed increasing OAR doses for both, VMAT and IMPT. The target coverage of recalculated VMAT plans was considered acceptable in three cases, while for all IMPT plans it dropped. Adaptation of the treatment reduced D 2% for brainstem by 6.7 Gy for VMAT and by 8 Gy for IMPT, for particular patients. These D 2% reductions were reaching 9 Gy and 14 Gy for the spinal cord. ART improved target dose homogeneity, especially for protons, i.e. D 2% decreased by up to 8 Gy while D 98% increased by 1.2 Gy.Conclusion. ART showed benefits for both modalities. However, as IMPT is more conformal, the magnitude of dosimetric changes was more pronounced compared to VMAT. Large anatomic variations had a severe impact on treatment plan quality for both VMAT and IMPT. ART is justified in those cases irrespective of treatment modalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1174
Number of pages9
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Head and Neck Neoplasms/radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Proton Therapy/methods
  • Radiometry/methods
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated/methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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