Compared with step-and-shoot intensity-modulated radiotherapy (sIMRT) and tomotherapy, volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) allows additional arc configurations in treatment planning and noncoplanar (NC) delivery. This study was first to compare VMAT planning with sIMRT planning, and the second to evaluate the toxicity of coplanar (C)/NC-VMAT treatment in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Fifteen patients with HCC (7 with left-lobe and 8 with right-lobe tumors) were planned with C-VMAT, C/NC-VMAT, and sIMRT. The median total dose was 49Gy (range: 40 to 56Gy), whereas the median fractional dose was 3.5Gy (range: 3 to 8Gy). Different doses/fractionations were converted to normalized doses of 2Gy per fraction using an α/β ratio of 2.5. The mean liver dose, volume fraction receiving more than 10Gy (V10), 20Gy (V20), 30Gy (V30), effective volume (Veff), and equivalent uniform dose (EUD) were compared. C/NC-VMAT in 6 patients was evaluated for delivery accuracy and treatment-related toxicity. Compared with sIMRT, both C-VMAT (p = 0.001) and C/NC-VMAT (p = 0.03) had significantly improved target conformity index. Compared with C-VMAT and sIMRT, C/NC-VMAT for treating left-lobe tumors provided significantly better liver sparing as evidenced by differences in mean liver dose (p = 0.03 and p = 0.007), V10 (p = 0.003 and p = 0.009), V20 (p = 0.006 and p = 0.01), V30 (p = 0.02 and p = 0.002), Veff (p = 0.006 and p = 0.001), and EUD (p = 0.04 and p = 0.003), respectively. For right-lobe tumors, there was no difference in liver sparing between C/NC-VMAT, C-VMAT, and sIMRT. In all patients, dose to more than 95% of target points met the 3%/3mm criteria. All 6 patients tolerated C/NC-VMAT and none of them had treatment-related ≥ grade 2 toxicity. The C/NC-VMAT can be used clinically for HCC and provides significantly better liver sparing in patients with left-lobe tumors.
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