A review of Image Guided Radiation Therapy in head and neck cancer from 2009-201 - Best Practice Recommendations for RTTs in the Clinic

Head and Neck Cancer

Kearney M, et al. Tech Innov Patient Support Radiat Oncol 2020.


Radiation therapy (RT) is beneficial in Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) in both the definitive and adjuvant setting. Highly complex and conformal planning techniques are becoming standard practice in delivering increased doses in HNC. A sharp falloff in dose outside the high dose area is characteristic of highly complex techniques and geometric uncertainties must be minimised to prevent under dosage of the target volume and possible over dosage of surrounding critical structures. CTV-PTV margins are

employed to account for geometric uncertainties such as set up errors and both interfraction and intrafraction motion. Robust immobilisation and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is also essential in this group of patients to minimise discrepancies in patient position during the treatment course. IGRT has evolved with increased 2-Dimensional (2D) and 3-Dimensional (3D) IGRT modalities available for geometric verification. 2D and 3D IGRT modalities are both beneficial in geometric verification while 3D imaging is a valuable tool in assessing volumetric changes that may have dosimetric consequences for this group of patients. IGRT if executed effectively and efficiently provides clinicians with confidence to reduce CTV-PTV margins thus limiting treatment related toxicities in patients. Accumulated exposure dose from IGRT vary considerably and may be incorporated into the treatment plan to avoid excess dose. However, there are considerable variations in the application of IGRT in RT practice. This paper aims to summarise the advances in IGRT in HNC treatment and provide clinics with recommendations for an IGRT strategy for HNC in the clinic.