Hypo-fractionated proton beam therapy (PBT) is an approach that has been increasingly explored over the past decade. It requires high geometric accuracy for targeting of the PBT beams. However, image-guided PBT is currently commonly performed with kV X-ray images of bony anatomy. A dynamic adaptive passive scattering PBT system using computed tomography-based three-dimensional image guidance was developed, and its effectiveness was then evaluated retrospectively in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC).Methods
The dynamic adaptive PBT system consisted of computed tomography-based image registration and proton dose calculation using a simplified Monte Carlo algorithm, with a range adaptation system that could adjust the range shifter thickness to alter the dose distribution. Three patients were retrospectively analyzed. All plans, which each had a total dose of 60 Gy (relative biological effectiveness; RBE), were generated using two fields (Gantry angles: 270 degree and 180 degree) in a passive scattering method. Three dose distributions were generated for each patient according to the following different registrations: bone registration, tumor registration, and tumor registration with range adaptation. The following dosimetric parameters were compared with the original plan: target dose coverage at D95% for the clinical target volume (CTV), homogeneity of D5% to D95% for the CTV, and dose distributions in normal tissue (Dmax of Spinal cord and V20 Gy of lung).Results
For the bone registration method, the average D95% and D5% to D95% for the CTV showed average differences from the original plan of −3.7 ± 4.1 Gy (mean ± 1SD; RBE) and 3.6 ± 3.9 Gy (RBE) respectively. The tumor registration method achieved better coverage than the bone registration method, although the dosimetric parameters for coverage and homogeneity still showed average differences in −2.0 ± 2.3 Gy (RBE) and 1.9 ± 2.2 Gy (RBE) respectively. The range adaptive plan showed comparable coverage and homogeneity [D95%: −1.0 ± 1.3 Gy (RBE) and D5% to D95%: 0.9 ± 1.0 Gy (RBE) on average] to the original plan, as well as demonstrating similar normal tissue sparing. The approach could be completed in less than 10 min, including CT acquisition, image registration, dose recalculation with range optimization, and the operator's visual verification.Conclusions
The tumor dose coverage in patients with NSCLC may deteriorate as a result of respiratory or body movement if daily proton range adaptation is not performed. Our approach may provide higher geometric accuracy for localization of the tumor, and the dynamic range adaptation enables us to achieve the planned dose distribution for hypo-fractionated PBT in the lung.