Vaginal dose-surface maps in cervical cancer brachytherapy: Methodology and preliminary results on correlation with morbidity



      The purpose of the study was to develop a methodology for vaginal dose-surface maps (DSMs) in patients with cervix cancer and to investigate dose-surface histogram metrics as predictors for vaginal stenosis (St) and mucositis (Muc).

      Methods and Materials

      Thirty-one patients with locally advanced cervix cancer with no vaginal St/Muc (CTCAE-v3) G ≥ 2 at baseline were analyzed. Patients were divided in four morbidity groups: 15 with St/Muc G0/1, 6 with St G ≥ 2, 4 with St/Muc G ≥ 2, and 6 with Muc G ≥ 2. Patients received external beam radiotherapy and 4-fraction intracavitary/interstitial high-dose-rate brachytherapy using tandem and ovoids. DSMs were generated from inner/outer vaginal surfaces. DSMs of external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy (Gy EQD23) were added based on a system of homologous points, to generate cumulative DSMs. Dose-surface histogram/dose-volume histogram parameters, location of high/intermediate-dose regions, rectovaginal reference point, vaginal lateral 5 mm point doses, and vagina/implant dimensions were investigated for St and Muc prediction. Average/difference DSMs and one-way analysis of variance were used to compare between groups.


      Best predictors of stenosis were D15–25cm2 and upper-vagina S65–120Gy(%). Cutoffs of ∼90 Gy EQD23 for D20cm2 and ∼80% for S65Gy to top 3 cm inner vaginal surface suitably discriminated for stenosis. Spatial dose location on average/difference DSMs showed significantly higher doses (by > 20 Gy, p < 0.001) over longer parts of the dorsolateral vagina and higher rectovaginal reference point doses for any G ≥ 2 morbidity, over the whole circumference of the upper vagina for G ≥ 2 stenosis. Dose-volume histogram parameters were dependent on vaginal wall thickness. An increase of wall thickness from 2 to 4 mm resulted in an increase of D2cm3 (D4cm3) of 16% (32%).


      A novel method was developed to generate vaginal DSMs and spatial-dose metrics. DSMs were found to correlate with vaginal stenosis. The findings of this study are promising and should be further validated on a larger patient cohort, treated with different applicators.


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