Daily adaptive proton therapy – the key to innovative planning approaches for paranasal cancer treatments

Background: For proton therapy of paranasal tumors, field directions avoiding volumes that might change during therapy are typically used. If the plan is optimized on the daily anatomy using daily adapted proton therapy (DAPT) however, field directions crossing the nasal cavities might be feasible. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of DAPT for enabling narrow-field treatment approaches.

Material and methods: For five paranasal tumor patients, representing a wide patient spectrum, anatomically robust 4-field-star and narrow-field plans were calculated and their robustness to anatomical and setup uncertainties was compared with and without DAPT. Based on the nominal planning CTs, per patient up to 125 simulated CTs (simCTs) with different nasal cavity fillings were created and random translations and rotations due to patient setup uncertainties were further simulated. Plans were recalculated or re-optimized on all error scenarios, representing non-adapted and DAPT fractions, respectively. From these, 100 possible treatments (60 GyRBE, 30 fx) were simulated and changes in integral dose, target and organs at risk (OARs) doses evaluated.

Results: In comparison to the 4-field-star approach, the use of narrow-fields reduced integral dose between 29% and 56%. If OARs did not overlap with the target, OAR doses were also reduced. Finally, the significantly reduced target coverage in non-adapted treatments (mean V95 reductions of up to 34%) could be almost fully restored with DAPT in all cases (differences <1%).

Conclusions: DAPT was found to be not only an effective way to increase plan robustness to anatomical and positional uncertainties, but also opened the possibility to use improved and more conformal field arrangements.