eISSN: 2081-2841
ISSN: 1689-832X
Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
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vol. 9
Original paper

Assessing dose contribution to pelvic lymph nodes in intracavitary brachytherapy for cervical cancer

Gail Wan Ying Chua
Yong Wee Foo
Guan Heng Tay
David Boon Harn Tan

J Contemp Brachytherapy 2017; 9, 4: 345-353
Online publish date: 2017/07/27
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Purpose: In radical radiotherapy for cervical cancer, high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy is commonly used after external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) to deliver a cumulative EQD2 of 80 to 90 Gy to the primary tumor. However, there is less certainty regarding brachytherapy dose contribution to the pelvic lymph nodes. This poses a challenge as to how high a preceding EBRT dose should be prescribed to gross nodal disease, in order to achieve a cumulative tumoricidal effect. Hence, this study aims to quantify brachytherapy dose contribution to individual pelvic nodal groups, using computed tomography (CT) planning with the Manchester system.

Material and methods: This is a single institution retrospective dosimetric study. CT planning datasets from 40 patients who received EBRT followed by intracavitary HDR brachytherapy (5 or 6 Gy fractions) were retrieved. The external iliac (EI), internal iliac (II), and obturator (OB) lymph node groups were contoured on each CT dataset. Applying the initial brachytherapy plan, mean doses to each nodal group were calculated for every patient, and averaged across the respective (5 or 6 Gy) study populations.

Results: With a brachytherapy dose of 5 Gy to Manchester point A, the mean absolute doses received by the EI, II, and OB groups were 0.79, 1.12, and 1.34 Gy respectively, corresponding to EQD2s (α/β = 10) of 0.71, 1.04, and 1.27 Gy respectively. With a brachytherapy dose of 6 Gy, the mean absolute doses received by the EI, II, and OB groups were 1.16, 1.56, and 1.80 Gy respectively, corresponding to EQD2s of 1.08, 1.49, and 1.77 Gy, respectively.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that pelvic lymph nodes receive substantial dose contributions from HDR brachytherapy in cervical cancer. This should be taken into account by the radiation oncologist during EBRT planning, and adequate external beam boost doses calculated to achieve cumulative tumoricidal doses to pelvic nodal disease.

brachytherapy, cervical cancer, dosimetry, pelvis

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