A feasibility study of using advanced external beam techniques to create a vaginal cuff brachytherapy-like endometrial boost plan

Zachary Grelewicz, Brooke Zerrusen, Vythialingam Sathiaseelan, Hualin Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of using advanced external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) planning techniques for creating plans that could be used as a possible alternative for high-dose rate (HDR) vaginal cuff brachytherapy (VCBT) boost in treating endometrial cancer. The computed tomography (CT) images of a total of 4 female patients who had endometrial cancer treated with HDR-VCBT were selected for this study. A typical HDR-VCBT target volume, 0.5-cm-thick shell volume around the cylinder applicator in the prescribed treatment length was contoured and used as the planning target volume (PTV) in both the HDR VCBT and the EBRT VCBT-like plans. HDR-VCBT plans were made based on the clinical protocol, 6 Gy given at the cylinder surface. The EBRT plans were generated using either a 7-field intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or a 2-arc volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) techniques for different cylinder sizes and treatment lengths, with the prescription dose of 5 Gy. Organs at risk (OARs) such as bladder, femoral heads, rectum, and sigmoid were also contoured and used in dosimetric evaluations. Dose-to-target metrics included mean dose, the dose covering 90% of target volume (D90) and the percentage of target volume covered by 90% of prescription dose (V90 or V13.5 Gy). Dose to OAR metrics included the maximum dose received by 0.1 cc (D0.1cc), 1.0 cc (D1.0cc), and 2.0 cc (D2.0cc) of OARs. These metrics were calculated and compared between all techniques. After the EBRT plans were normalized to achieve a comparable mean dose to target as HDR-VCBT, the EBRT plans were found to have superior target coverage and increased dose homogeneity compared with HDR-VCBT. V90s of EBRT plans were 95%, compared with 50% to 58% of the HDR plans. However, D0.1cc, D1.0cc, and D2.0cc of OARs were 2% to 38% lower in HDR-VCBT than in EBRT. Although HDR-VCBT plans demonstrated superior normal tissue sparing, both EBRT and HDR-VCBT plans produce plans that met clinical dose constraints on normal tissues. Advanced EBRT techniques such as IMRT and VMAT are capable of making plans, which closely resemble HDR-VCBT. Although the doses of OARs are greater in EBRT than in HDR-VCBT, the prescription dose coverage and dose homogeneity of the EBRT plans are greater than that of HDR-VCBT plans at the similar mean dose, and the OAR dose is still acceptable with EBRT plans. The detailed dosimetric approaches are provided in the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • EBRT
  • Endometrial
  • HDR
  • VCBT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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