Helical tomotherapy as a means of delivering accelerated partial breast irradiation

Susanta K. Hui, Rupak K. Das, Jeff Kapatoes, Gustavo Oliviera, Stuart Becker, Heath Odau, John D. Fenwick, Rakesh Patel, Robert Kuske, Minesh Mehta, Bhudatt Paliwal, Thomas R. Mackie, Jack F. Fowler, James S. Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A novel treatment approach utilizing helical tomotherapy for partial breast irradiation for patients with early-stage breast cancer is described. This technique may serve as an alternative to high dose-rate (HDR) interstitial brachytherapy and standard /inac-based approaches. Through helical tomotherapy, highly conformal irradiation of target volumes and avoidance of normal sensitive structures can be achieved. Unlike HDR brachytherapy, it is noninvasive. Unlike other linac-based techniques, it provides image-guided adaptive radiotherapy along with intensity modulation. A treatment planning CT scan was obtained as usual on a post-lumpectomy patient undergoing HDR interstitial breast brachytherapy. The patient underwent catheter placement for HDR treatment and was positioned prone on a specially designed position-supporting mattress during CT. The planning target volume (PTV) was defined as the lumpectomy bed plus a 20 mm margin. The prescription dose was 34 Gy (10 fx of 3.4 Gy) in both the CT based HDR and on the tomotherapy plan. Cumulative dose-volume histograms (DVHs) were generated and analyzed for the target, lung, heart, skin, pectoralis muscle, and chest wall for both HDR brachytherapy and helical tomotherapy. Dosimetric coverage of the target with helical tomotherapy was conformal and homogeneous. "Hot spots" (≥150% isodose line) were present around implanted dwell positions in brachytherapy plan whereas no isodose lines higher than 109% were present in the helical tomotherapy plan. Similar dose coverage was achieved for lung, pectoralis muscle, heart, chest wall and breast skin with the two methods. We also compared our results to that obtained using conventional linac-based three dimensional (3D) conformal accelerated partial breast irradiation. Dose homogeneity is excellent with 3D conformal irradiation, and lung, heart and chest wall dose is less than for either HDR brachytherapy or helical tomotherapy but skin and pectoral muscle doses were higher than with the other techniques. Our results suggest that helical tomotherapy can serve as an effective means of delivering accelerated partial breast irradiation and may offer superior dose homogeneity compared to HDR brachytherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-646
Number of pages8
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Brachytherapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Helical tomotherapy


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