Hippocampal Dose With Radiosurgery for Multiple Intracranial Targets: The Rationale for Proactive Beam Shaping

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Stereotactic radiosurgery provides conformal treatment of intracranial lesions, but when multiple lesions are treated, cumulative dose to structures such as the hippocampi may be increased. We analyzed hippocampal dose for patients treated with radiosurgery for multiple brain metastases. We then investigated a means to minimize hippocampal dose. We randomly selected 8 patients treated with single-session, frame-based radiosurgery for 6 to 12 intracranial metastases. Standard planning was employed to deliver 16 to 20 Gy to each lesion without hippocampal avoidance. Each case was replanned using the software’s dynamic shaping function to minimize direct beam hippocampal irradiation, while maintaining conformality and target coverage. With standard planning, the maximum hippocampal dose varied from 0.8 to 9.0 Gy but was >3 Gy only when a lesion was <10 mm from the hippocampus. There was no clear correlation between hippocampal dose and the number or the total volume of lesions. Replanning with direct beam avoidance decreased the mean hippocampal dose by an average of 35% but increased treatment time by a mean of 20%. Sparing was most pronounced when the closest lesion was in close proximity to the hippocampus. This is the first study reporting hippocampal dose for multilesion intracranial radiosurgery. It illustrates that when multiple intracranial targets are treated with radiosurgery, substantial hippocampal dose can result. Active beam shielding and optimization can lower hippocampal dose, especially with lesions <10 mm from the hippocampus. These results raise the prospect that the risk of neurocognitive side effects may be further decreased with a hippocampal-sparing approach.

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