Comparative dosimetric analysis of IMRT and VMAT (RapidArc) in brain, head and neck, breast and prostate malignancies

Mirza Athar Ali, Muntimadugu Babaiah, Nagaraju Madhusudhan, Geomcy George, Shanu Jain, Kuppuswami Ramalingam, Sangaiah Ashok Kumar, Kalyanasundaram Karthikeyan, Ayyalusamy Anantharaman


Purpose: Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in the recent past has established itself as a gold standard for organs at risk (OAR) sparing, target coverage and dose conformity. With the advent of a rotational treatment technology such as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), an inter-comparison is warranted to address the advantages and disadvantages of each technique.

Methods: Twenty patients were selected retrospectively from our patient database. Sites included were brain, head and neck, chest wall, and prostate, with five patients for each site. For all the selected patients, both the IMRT and VMAT treatment plans were generated. Plan comparison was done in terms of OAR dose, dose homogeneity index (HI), dose conformity index (CI), target coverage, low isodose volumes, monitor units (MUs), and treatment time.

Results: The VMAT showed better sparing of “parotids minus planning target volume (PTV)”, spinal cord and head of femur as compared to the IMRT. The lung V40 for VMAT was lower, whereas the lung V10, contralateral lung mean dose, contralateral breast mean dose and mean body dose were lower with IMRT for chest wall cases. Both the VMAT and IMRT achieved comparable HI except for the brain site, where IMRT scored over VMAT. The CI achieved by the IMRT and VMAT were similar except for chest wall cases, whereas the VMAT achieved better dose conformity. The target coverage was comparable with both the plans. The VMAT clearly scored over IMRT in terms of average MUs (486 versus 812 respectively) and average treatment time (2.54 minutes versus 5.54 minutes) per treatment session.

Conclusion: The VMAT (RapidArc) has a potential to generate treatment plans for various anatomical sites which are comparable with the corresponding IMRT plans in terms of OAR sparing and plan quality parameters. The VMAT significantly reduces treatment time as compared to the IMRT, thus VMAT can increase the throughput of a busy radiotherapy department.


VMAT; RapidArc; IMRT; Plan Comparison

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