Clinical implementation of adaptive helical tomotherapy: A unique approach to image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy

James S. Welsh, Michael Lock, Paul M. Harari, Wolfgang A. Tomé, Jack Fowler, Thomas Rockwell Mackie, Mark Ritter, Jeff Kapatoes, Lisa Forrest, Richard Chappell, Bhudatt Paliwal, Minesh P. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Image-guided IMRT is a revolutionary concept whose clinical implementation is rapidly evolving. Methods of executing beam intensity modulation have included individually designed compensators, static multi-leaf collimators (MLC), dynamic MLC, and sequential (serial) tomotherapy. We have developed helical tomotherapy as an innovative solution to overcome some of the limitations of other IMRT systems. The unique physical design of helical tomotherapy allows the realization of the concepts of adaptive radiotherapy and conformal avoidance. In principle, these advances should improve normal tissue sparing and permit dose reconstruction and verification, thereby allowing significant biologically effective dose escalation. Recent radiobiological findings can be translated into altered fractionation schemes that aim to improve the local control and long-term survival. This strategy is being tested at the University of Wisconsin using helical tomotherapy with its highly precise delivery and verification system along with meticulous and practical forms of immobilization. Innovative techniques such optical guidance, respiratory gating, and ultrasound assessments are being designed and tailored for helical tomotherapy use. The intrinsic capability of helical tomotherapy for megavoltage CT (MVCT) imaging for IMRT image-guidance is being optimized. The unique features of helical tomotherapy might allow implementation of image-guided IMRT that was previously impossible or impractical. Here we review the technological, physical, and radiobiological rationale for the ongoing and upcoming clinical trials that will use image-guided IMRT in the form of helical tomotherapy; and we describe our plans for testing our hypotheses in a rigorous prospective fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-479
Number of pages15
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerated fractionation
  • Adaptive radiotherapy
  • Conformal avoidance
  • Hypofractionation
  • IMRT
  • Tomotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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