It is the purpose of this study to evaluate how self-expanding stents (SESs) affect esophageal cancer radiation planning target volumes (PTVs) and dose delivered to surrounding organs at risk (OARs). Ten patients were evaluated, for whom a SES was placed before radiation. A computed tomography (CT) scan obtained before stent placement was fused to the post-stent CT simulation scan. Three methods were used to represent pre-stent PTVs: 1) image fusion (IF), 2) volume approximation (VA), and 3) diameter approximation (DA). PTVs and OARs were contoured per RTOG 1010 protocol using Eclipse Treatment Planning software. Post-stent dosimetry for each patient was compared to approximated pre-stent dosimetry. For each of the three pre-stent approximations (IF, VA, and DA), the mean lung and liver doses and the estimated percentages of lung volumes receiving 5 Gy, 10 Gy, 20 Gy, and 30 Gy, and heart volumes receiving 40 Gy were significantly lower (p-values Symbol) than those estimated in the post-stent treatment plans. The lung V5, lung V10, and heart V40 constraints were achieved more often using our pre-stent approximations. Esophageal SES placement increases the dose delivered to the lungs, heart, and liver. This may have clinical importance, especially when the dose-volume constraints are near the recommended thresholds, as was the case for lung V5, lung V10, and heart V40. While stents have established benefits for treating patients with significant dysphagia, physicians considering stent placement and radiation therapy must realize the effects stents can have on the dosimetry.
PACS number: 87.55.dk