Background: State-of-the-art radiotherapy of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (LA-NSCLC) is performed with intensity-modulation during free breathing (FB). Previous studies have found encouraging geometric reproducibility and patient compliance of deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) radiotherapy for LA-NSCLC patients. However, dosimetric comparisons of DIBH with FB are sparse, and DIBH is not routinely used for this patient group. The objective of this simulation study was therefore to compare DIBH and FB in a prospective cohort of LA-NSCLC patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Methods: For 38 LA-NSCLC patients, 4DCTs and DIBH CTs were acquired for treatment planning and during the first and third week of radiotherapy treatment. Using automated planning, one FB and one DIBH IMRT plan were generated for each patient. FB and DIBH was compared in terms of dosimetric parameters and NTCP. The treatment plans were recalculated on the repeat CTs to evaluate robustness. Correlations between ΔNTCPs and patient characteristics that could potentially predict the benefit of DIBH were explored. Results: DIBH reduced the median Dmean to the lungs and heart by 1.4 Gy and 1.1 Gy, respectively. This translated into reductions in NTCP for radiation pneumonitis grade ≥2 from 20.3% to 18.3%, and for 2-year mortality from 51.4% to 50.3%. The organ at risk sparing with DIBH remained significant in week 1 and week 3 of treatment, and the robustness of the target coverage was similar for FB and DIBH. While the risk of radiation pneumonitis was consistently reduced with DIBH regardless of patient characteristics, the ability to reduce the risk of 2-year mortality was evident among patients with upper and left lower lobe tumors but not right lower lobe tumors. Conclusion: Compared to FB, DIBH allowed for smaller target volumes and similar target coverage. DIBH reduced the lung and heart dose, as well as the risk of radiation pneumonitis and 2-year mortality, for 92% and 74% of LA-NSCLC patients, respectively. However, the advantages varied considerably between patients, and the ability to reduce the risk of 2-year mortality was dependent on tumor location. Evaluation of repeat CTs showed similar robustness of the dose distributions with each technique.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research received funding from Helse Vest RHF (grant number F-12505) and the Trond Mohn Foundation (grant number BFS2017TMT07).
Copyright © 2022 Fjellanger, Rossi, Heijmen, Pettersen, Sandvik, Breedveld, Sulen and Hysing.