Medical physics 2013-09
Experimentally studied dynamic dose interplay does not meaningfully affect target dose in VMAT SBRT lung treatments.   
The effects of respiratory motion on the tumor dose can be divided into the gradient and interplay effects. While the interplay effect is likely to average out over a large number of fractions, it may play a role in hypofractionated [stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)] treatments. This subject has been extensively studied for intensity modulated radiation therapy but less so for volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), particularly in application to hypofractionated regimens. Also, no experimental study has provided full four-dimensional (4D) dose reconstruction in this scenario. The authors demonstrate how a recently described motion perturbation method, with full 4D dose reconstruction, is applied to describe the gradient and interplay effects during VMAT lung SBRT treatments.
VMAT dose delivered to a moving target in a patient can be reconstructed by applying perturbations to the treatment planning system-calculated static 3D dose. Ten SBRT patients treated with 6 MV VMAT beams in five fractions were selected. The target motion (motion kernel) was approximated by 3D rigid body translation, with the tumor centroids defined on the ten phases of the 4DCT. The motion was assumed to be periodic, with the period T being an average from the empirical 4DCT respiratory trace. The real observed tumor motion (total displacement ≤ 8 mm) was evaluated first. Then, the motion range was artificially increased to 2 or 3 cm. Finally, T was increased to 60 s. While not realistic, making T comparable to the delivery time elucidates if the interplay effect can be observed. For a single fraction, the authors quantified the interplay effect as the maximum difference in the target dosimetric indices, most importantly the near-minimum dose (D99%), between all possible starting phases. For the three- and five-fractions, statistical simulations were performed when substantial interplay was found.
For the motion amplitudes and periods obtained from the 4DCT, the interplay effect is negligible (<0.2%). It is also small (0.9% average, 2.2% maximum) when the target excursion increased to 2-3 cm. Only with large motion and increased period (60 s) was a significant interplay effect observed, with D99% ranging from 16% low to 17% high. The interplay effect was statistically significantly lower for the three- and five-fraction statistical simulations. Overall, the gradient effect dominates the clinical situation.
A novel method was used to reconstruct the volumetric dose to a moving tumor during lung SBRT VMAT deliveries. With the studied planning and treatment technique for realistic motion periods, regardless of the amplitude, the interplay has nearly no impact on the near-minimum dose. The interplay effect was observed, for study purposes only, with the period comparable to the VMAT delivery time.

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