Evaluating the dosimetric effect of treatment-induced changed in virally mediated head and neck cancer patients

Brown, Elizabeth, Owen, Rebecca, Mengersen, Kerrie, Harden, Fiona, & Porceddu, Sandro (2013) Evaluating the dosimetric effect of treatment-induced changed in virally mediated head and neck cancer patients. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 60(4), pp. 139-144.

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Patients with virally mediated head and neck cancer (VMHNC) often present with advanced nodal disease that is highly radioresponsive as demonstrated by tumour and nodal regression during treatment. The resultant changes may impact on the planned dose distribution and so adversely affect the therapeutic ratio. The aim of this study was to evaluate the dosimetric effect of treatment-induced anatomical changes in VMHNC patients who had undergone a re-plan.


Thirteen patients with virally mediated oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal cancer who presented for definitive radiotherapy between 2005 and 2010 and who had a re-plan generated were investigated. The dosimetric effect of anatomical changes, was quantified by comparing dose volume histograms (DVH) of primary and nodal gross target volumes and organs at risk (OAR), including spinal cord and parotid glands, from the original plan and a comparison plan.


Eleven 3DCRT and 2 IMRT plans were evaluated. Dose to the spinal cord and brainstem increased by 4.1% and 2.6%, respectively. Mean dose to the parotid glands also increased by 3.5%. In contrast, the dose received by 98% of the primary and nodal gross tumour volumes decreased by 0.15% and 0.3%, respectively when comparing the initial treatment plan to the comparison plan.


In this study, treatment-induced anatomical changes had the greatest impact on OAR dose with negligible effect on the dose to nodal gross tumour volumes. In the era of intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), accounting for treatment-induced anatomical changes is important as focus is placed on minimising the acute and long-term side effects of treatment.

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ID Code: 63511
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: radiation therapy, adaptive radiotherapy, head and neck cancer, HPV 16
DOI: 10.1002/jmrs.30
ISSN: 2051-3909
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > ONCOLOGY AND CARCINOGENESIS (111200) > Radiation Therapy (111208)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Authors. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences published by Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd on behalf of Australian Institute of Radiography and New Zealand Institute of Medical Radiation Technology.
Copyright Statement: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Deposited On: 20 Oct 2013 22:32
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2014 05:40

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