Vol 26, No 1 (2021)
Research paper
Published online: 2021-01-22

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Dosimetric impact of volumetric modulated arc therapy for nasopharyngeal cancer treatment

Ciro Franzese12, Antonella Fogliata1, Mauro Loi1, Marco Badalamenti1, Davide Franceschini1, Tiziana Comito1, Luca Cozzi12, Giacomo Reggiori1, Stefano Tomatis1, Marta Scorsetti12
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2021;26(1):101-110.


Background: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the toxicity and outcome of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients treated using 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) or volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) technique.

Materials and methods: 68 patients treated between 2006 and 2018 were retrospectively analysed. Since 2009 patients received 3DCRT with 50/70 Gy to the elective/boost volumes in 35 fractions; from then, VMAT with simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) with 54.45/69.96 Gy in 33, or 54/66 Gy in 30 fractions. Induction chemotherapy was administered in 74% of the patients, concomitant cisplatinum in 87%. Acute and late toxicity data, progression-free survival PSF and overall survival OS, and toxicity correlations with dose metrics were reported.

Results: With a median follow-up of 64 months, complete remission at the last evaluation was in 68% of the patients, while 28% and 9% had locoregional relapse and distant disease, respectively. The 5- and 10-year progression free survival (PFS) rates were 62.7±6.5% and 53.2±8.7%, respectively. The 5- and 10-year OS rates were 78.9 ± 5.5% and 61.4 ± 9.2%, respectively. At the multivariate Cox analysis TNM stage (p = 0.02) and concomitant chemotherapy (p = 0.01) resulted significant for PFS, concomitant chemotherapy (p = 0.04) for OS.

Improvements in acute toxicity were presented for VMAT patients due to its ability to spare OARs. Odds ratio (OR) for acute salivary toxicity, between VMAT and 3DCRT, was 4.67 (p = 0.02). Dosimetrically, salivary toxicity correlated with mean parotid dose (p = 0.05), dysphagia with laryngeal (p = 0.04) and mean oral cavity (p = 0.06) doses, when dose-volume histograms (DVHs) are corrected for fractionation.

Conclusion: This study is a proof of a significant benefit of the VMAT technique compared with 3DCRT in terms of side effects in nasopharynx patients, and adds dosimetric correlations.

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