Reducing the low-dose lung radiation for central lung tumors by restricting the IMRT beams and arc arrangement.
To compare the extent to which 7 different radiotherapy planning techniques for mediastinal lung targets reduces the lung volume receiving low doses of radiation. Thirteen non-small cell lung cancer patients with targets, including the mediastinal nodes, were identified. Treatment plans were generated to both 60- and 74-Gy prescription doses using 7 different planning techniques: conformal, hybrid conformal/intensity-modulated radiation treatment (IMRT), 7 equidistant IMRT beams, 2 restricted beam IMRT plans, a full (360°) modulated arc, and a restricted modulated arc plan. All plans were optimized to reduce total lung V5, V10, and V20 volumes, while meeting normal tissue and target coverage constraints. The mean values for the 13 patients are calculated for V5, V10, V20, V(ave), V0-20, and mean lung dose (MLD) lung parameters. For the 74-Gy prescription dose, the mean lung V10 was 42.7, 43.6, 48.2, 56.6, 57, 55.8, and 54.1% for the restricted ±36° IMRT, restricted modulated arc, restricted ±45° IMRT, full modulated arc, hybrid conformal/IMRT, equidistant IMRT, and conformal plans, respectively. A similar lung sparing hierarchy was found for the 60-Gy prescription dose. For the treatment of central lung targets, the ±36° restricted IMRT and restricted modulated arc planning techniques are superior in lowering the lung volume treated to low dose, as well as in minimizing MLD, followed by the ±45° restricted IMRT plan. All planning techniques that allow the use of lateral or lateral/oblique beams result in spreading the low dose over a higher lung volume. The area under the lung dose-volume histogram curve below 20 Gy, V0-20, is proposed as an alternative to individual V(dose) parameters, both as a measure of lung sparing and as a parameter to be minimized during IMRT optimization.