First proton minibeam radiation therapy treatment plan evaluation
AbstractProton minibeam radiation therapy (pMBRT) is a novel dose delivery method based on spatial dose fractionation. pMBRT has been shown to be promising in terms of reduced side effects and superior tumour control in high-grade glioma-bearing rats compared to standard irradiation. These findings, together with the recent optimized implementation of pMBRT in a clinical pencil beam scanning system, have triggered reflection on the possible application to patient treatments. In this context, the present study was designed to conduct a first theoretical investigation of the clinical potential of this technique. For this purpose, a dedicated dose engine was developed and used to evaluate two clinically relevant patient treatment plans (high-grade glioma and meningioma). Treatment plans were compared with standard proton therapy plans assessed by means of a commercial treatment planning system (ECLIPSE-Varian Medical systems) and Monte Carlo simulations. A multislit brass collimator consisting of 0.4 mm wide slits separated by a centre-to-centre distance of 4 or 6 mm was placed between the nozzle and the patient to shape the planar minibeams. For each plan, spread-out Bragg peaks and homogeneous dose distributions (±7% dose variations) can be obtained in target volumes. The Peak-to-Valley Dose Ratios (PVDR) were evaluated between 9.2 and 12.8 at a depth of 20 mm for meningioma and glioma, respectively. Dose volume histograms (DVHs) for target volumes and organs at risk were quantitatively compared, resulting in a slightly better target homogeneity with standard PT than with pMBRT plans, but similar DVHs for deep-seated organs-at-risk and lower average dose for shallow organs. The proposed delivery method evaluated in this work opens the way to an effective treatment for radioresistant tumours and will support the design of future clinical research.