A Study of the Radiobiological Modeling of the Conformal Radiation Therapy in Cancer Treatment
thesisposted on 13.12.2012 by Anil P. Pyakuryal
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortalities in the world. The precise diagnosis of the disease helps the patients to select the appropriate modality of the treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The physics of X-radiation and the advanced imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) plays an important role in the efficient diagnosis and therapeutic treatments in cancer. However, the accuracy of the measurements of the metabolic target volumes (MTVs) in the PET/CT dual-imaging modality is always limited. Similarly the external beam radiation therapy (XRT) such as 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is the most common modality in the radiotherapy treatment. These treatments are simulated and evaluated using the XRT plans and the standard methodologies in the commercial planning system. However, the normal organs are always susceptible to the radiation toxicity in these treatments due to lack of knowledge of the appropriate radiobiological models to estimate the clinical outcomes. We explored several methodologies to estimate MTVs by reviewing various techniques of the target volume delineation using the static phantoms in the PET scans. The review suggests that the more precise and practical method of delineating PET MTV should be an intermediate volume between the volume coverage for the standardized uptake value (SUV; 2.5) of glucose and the 50% (40%) threshold of the maximum SUV for the smaller (larger) volume delineations in the radiotherapy applications. Similarly various types of optimal XRT plans were designed using the CT and PET/CT scans for the treatment of various types of cancer patients. The qualities of these plans were assessed using the universal plan-indices. The dose-volume criteria were also examined in the targets and organs by analyzing the conventional dose-volume histograms (DVHs). The biological models such as tumor control probability based on Poisson statistics model, and normal tissue complication probabilities based on Lyman-Kutcher-Burman model, were efficient to estimate the radiobiological outcomes of the treatments by taking into account of the dose-volume effects in the organs. Furthermore, a novel technique of spatial DVH analysis was also found to be useful to determine the primary cause of the complications in the critical organs in the treatments. The study also showed that the 3DCRT and IMRT techniques offer the promising results in the XRT treatment of the left-breast and the prostate cancer patients respectively. Unfortunately, several organs such as salivary glands and larynx, and esophagus, were found to be significantly vulnerable to the radiation toxicity in the treatment of the head and neck (HN), and left-lung cancer patients respectively. The radiobiological outcomes were also found to be consistent with the clinical results of the IMRT based treatments of a significant number of the HN cancer patients.