Radiation-Induced Second Cancer Risk from External Beam Photon Radiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer: Impact on in-Field and Out-of-Field Organs

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Research and Development Centre, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India.

2 Advanced Medical Physics, Houston, Texas, United States.

3 Department of Radiation Physics, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, India.


The purpose of this paper is to provide data on development of second primary cancers within or adjacent to tissue irradiated in the treatment of primary head and neck cancers using different techniques and modalities. Materials and methods: We selected five patients with HandN tumors located in base of the tongue for risk assessment. In order to examine the impact of choices of various planning techniques, numbers of beams and beam energy used in treatment plans - 7 and 9 field Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) plans using 6MV and 10 MV beam energies and a 6MV Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans were planned. Out-of-field measurements for secondary photon doses for the treatment plans were measured using diode-dosimeters and solid water slabs. Differential dose-volume histograms (DVH) for all 5 patients and 5 techniques, were exported and used to calculate organ equivalent dose (OAR), excess absolute risk (EAR), and life-time attributable risk (LAR) for in-field organs. Results: For all treatment plans, the DVH showed clinically acceptable values; adequate clinical target coverage and dose constraints were met for all organs at risk. There was a clear advantage for the VMAT plan; it provided superior organ at risk (OAR) sparing and adequate target coverage. VMAT has relatively low monitor units at 0.93±0.034 times 7F6. The average percentage scattered to prescription doses for the five patients at 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75 cm from the isocenter were 0.9212 ± 0.115, 0.2621 ± 0.080, 0.1617 ± 0.057, 0.0936 ± 0.026, 0.0296 ± 0.014, for VMAT. Conclusion: Organ-specific LAR was higher with VMAT compared to 7F6 for skin. 6-MV VMAT is an acceptable alternative to IMRT for HandN cancer and offers advantages in terms of sparing adjacent OAR.


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