CyberKnife spinal radiosurgery suffers from a lack of posterior beams due to workspace limitations. This is remedied by a newly available tracking modality for fiducial-free, respiration-compensated spine tracking in prone patient position. We analyzed the potential dosimetric benefit in a planning study. Fourteen exemplary cases were compared in three scenarios: supine (PTV=CTV), prone (PTV=CTV), and prone position with an additional margin (PTV=CTV+2 mm), to incorporate reduced accuracy of respiration-compensated tracking. Target and spinal cord constraints were chosen according to RTOG 0631 protocol for spinal metastases. Plan quality was scored based on four predefined parameters: dose to cord (Symbol and Symbol), high dose (Symbol), and low dose (Symbol) volume of healthy tissue. Prescription dose was 16 Gy to the highest isodose line encompassing 90% of the target. Results were related to target size and position. All plans fulfilled RTOG 0631 constraints for coverage and dose to cord. When no additional margin was applied, a majority of eight cases benefitted from prone position, mainly due to a reduction of Symbol by 23% ± 26%. In the 2 mm prone scenario, the benefit was nullified by an average increase of Symbol by 43% ± 24%, and an increase of Symbol to cord (four cases). Spinal cord Symbol was unchanged (Symbol) in all but two cases for both prone scenarios. Conformity (nCI) and number of beams were equivalent in all scenarios, but supine plans used a significantly higher number of monitor units (+16%) than prone. Posterior beam access can reduce dose to healthy tissue in CyberKnife spinal radiosurgery when no additional margin is applied. When a target margin of 2 mm is added, this potential gain is lost. Relative anterior-posterior position and size of the target are selection criteria for prone treatment.
PACS numbers: 87,53.Ly, 87.55.D-