A dynamic supraclavicular field-matching technique for head-and-neck cancer patients treated with IMRT

Academic Article


  • The conventional single-isocenter and half-beam (SIHB) technique for matching supraclavicular fields with head-and-neck (HN) intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) fields is subject to substantial dose inhomogeneities from imperfect accelerator jaw/MLC calibration. It also limits the isocenter location and restricts the useful field size for IMRT. We propose a dynamic field-matching technique to overcome these limitations. The proposed dynamic field-matching technique makes use of wedge junctions for the abutment of supraclavicular and HN IMRT fields. The supraclavicular field was shaped with a multileaf collimator (MLC), which was orientated such that the leaves traveled along the superoinferior direction. The leaves that defined the superior field border moved continuously during treatment from 1.5 cm below to 1.5 cm above the conventional match line to generate a 3-cm-wide wedge-shaped junction. The HN IMRT fields were optimized by taking into account the dose contribution from the supraclavicular field to the junction area, which generates a complementary wedge to produce a smooth junction in the abutment region. This technique was evaluated on a polystyrene phantom and 10 HN cancer patients. Treatment plans were generated for the phantom and the 10 patients. Dose profiles across the abutment region were measured in the phantom on films. For patient plans, dose profiles that passed through the center of the neck lymph nodes were calculated using the proposed technique and the SIHB technique, and dose uniformity in the abutment region was compared. Field mismatches of ± 1 mm and ± 2 mm because of imperfect jaw/MLC calibration were simulated, and the resulting dose inhomogeneities were studied for the two techniques with film measurements and patient plans. Three-dimensional volumetric doses were analyzed, and equivalent uniform doses (EUD) were computed. The effect of field mismatches on EUD was compared for the two match techniques. For a perfect jaw/MLC calibration, dose profiles for the 10 patients in the 3-cm match zone had an average inhomogeneity range of -1.6% to +1.6% using the dynamic-matching technique and -3.7% to +3.8% according to the SIHB technique. Measurements showed that dose inhomogeneities that resulted from 1-mm and 2-mm jaw/MLC calibration errors were reduced from as large as 27% and 45% with the SIHB technique to less than 2% and 5.7% with the dynamic technique, respectively. For -1-mm, -2-mm, +1-mm, and +2-mm jaw/MLC calibration errors, respectively, treatment plans for the 10 patients yielded average dose inhomogeneities of -5.9%, -3.0%, +2.7%, and +5.8% with the dynamic technique as compared to -22.8%, -11.1%, +9.8%, and +22.1% with the SIHB technique. Calculation based on a dose-volume histogram (DVH) showed that the SIHB technique resulted in larger changes in EUD of the PTV in the junction area than did the dynamic technique. Compared with the conventional SIHB technique, the dynamic field-matching technique provides superior dose homogeneity in the abutment region between the supraclavicular and HN IMRT fields. The dynamic feathering mechanism substantially reduces dose inhomogeneities that result from imperfect jaw/MLC calibration. In addition, isocenter location in the dynamic field-matching technique can be chosen for reproducible patient setup and for adequate IMRT field size rather than being dictated by the match position. It also allows angling of the supraclavicular field to reduce the volume of healthy lung irradiated, which is impractical with the SIHB technique. In principle, this technique should be applicable to any treatment site that requires the abutment of static and intensity-modulated fields. © 2004 Elsevier Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Duan J; Shen S; Spencer SA; Ahmed RS; Popple RA; Ye SJ; Brezovich IA
  • Start Page

  • 959
  • End Page

  • 972
  • Volume

  • 60
  • Issue

  • 3