Treatment plan quality and delivery accuracy assessments on 3 IMRT delivery methods of stereotactic body radiotherapy for spine tumors

Long Huang, Toufik Djemil, Tingliang Zhuang, Martin Andrews, Samuel T. Chao, John H. Suh, Ping Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for spine tumors has demonstrated clinical effectiveness. The treatment planning and delivery techniques have evolved from dynamic conformal arc therapy, to fixed gantry angle intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), and most recently to volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT). A hybrid-arc (HARC) planning and delivery method combining dynamic conformal arc therapy delivery with a number of equally spaced IMRT beams is proposed. In this study we investigated plan quality, delivery accuracy, and efficiency of 3 delivery techniques: IMRT, HARC, and VMAT. Patients who underwent spine SBRT treatments were randomly selected from an Institutional Review Board-approved registry. For each patient, the prescription dose was 14 to 16 Gy in a single fraction to cover >90% of the tumor (without planning margin) while constraining V10Gy ≤ 10% of the spinal cord and the maximum point dose (MPD) of the spinal cord ≤ 14 Gy. All cases were clinically treated with fixed gantry step-shoot IMRT plans and then re-planned with VMAT using Pinnacle 9.0 and with HARC using Brainlab iPlan 4.5. Student t-test was used to compare the dosimetric end points, including V16Gy to the planning target volume, homogeneity index, MPDPTV, the conformity index, V10Gy of the spinal cord, and MPDcord. To compare the accuracy of delivery, we delivered all plans on a phantom and conducted gamma index (GI) comparisons with 3 mm/3% and 2 mm/2% criteria. All plans met our clinical requirements. Among 3 techniques, there were no differences on dose coverage to the tumor volume, maximum dose to the spinal cord, and plan homogeneity index (p > 0.05). The average V10Gy of the spinal cord was 6.66 ± 0.03%, 5.49 ± 0.03%, and 4.76 ± 0.02% for IMRT, HARC, and VMAT plans, respectively. Accordingly, the conformity indices were 1.30 ± 0.11 and 1.29 ± 0.20, 1.53 ± 0.29, respectively. VMAT plans were significantly (p < 0.05) less conformal but significantly (p < 0.05) lower V10Gy of the spinal cord than those from HARC and IMRT plans. With delivery accuracy measured by GIs, the average GIs of 3%/3 mm were 92.6 ± 1.1%, 96.5 ± 2.7%, 99.0 ± 1.1% for IMRT, HARC, and VMAT plans, respectively. The differences were significant (p < 0.05). Accordingly, the average monitor units were 9238 ± 2242, 9853 ± 2548 and 5091 ± 910. The plan quality created from the 3 planning techniques can meet the clinical requirement. Adding arc beams in delivery such as in HARC and VMAT plans improves the delivery accuracy. VMAT is the most efficient delivery method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Delivery accuracy
  • IMRT
  • Plan quality
  • Spine SRS
  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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