Reduction in radiation dose to lung and other normal tissues using helical tomotherapy to treat lung cancer, in comparison to conventional field arrangements

Rufus A. Scrimger, Wolfgang A. Tomé, Gustavo H. Olivera, Paul J. Reckwerdt, Minesh P. Mehta, Jack F. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of tomotherapy in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has the potential to reduce radiation dose to normal tissues, in particular, the lungs, esophagus, and spinal cord, as compared with standard radiotherapy. Five patients with anatomically or physiologically inoperable stage III NSCLC were studied, representing a variety of tumor sizes and locations. For each patient, two treatment plans were generated. One was developed using conventional field arrangements (CFA), and the other for tomotherapy. Using dose-volume histogram reduction techniques, including mean normalized dose (NTDmean), V20, and effective uniform dose (EUD), the normal tissue doses for CFA and tomotherapy plans for a given fixed tumor dose were compared. In addition, the maximum tumor doses possible for a given level of mean normalized lung dose were computed and compared for the CFA and tomotherapy plans. The gross tumor volumes in the five patients studied ranged from 13.5 to 87.1 cm3. The tumor dose distributions, determined by EUD and minimum dose, were similar for both CFA and tomotherapy plans, as intended. In all cases, the NTDmean of both lungs was significantly reduced using tomotherapy planning (range: 10-53% reduction, mean: 31%). The volume of lung receiving more than 20 Gy was also reduced in all cases using tomotherapy (range: 17-37% reduction, mean: 22%). For a constant lung NTDmean it is shown that it should be possible to increase tumor dose to up to 160 Gy in certain patients with tomotherapy. The dose to the spinal cord and esophagus was also reduced in all cases with tomotherapy planning, compared with plans generated using conventional field arrangements. Both tomotherapy, and to a lesser extent conventional three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, have the potential to significantly decrease radiation dose to lung and other normal structures in the treatment of NSCLC. This has important implications for dose escalation strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Conventional field arrangements
  • Lung cancer
  • Tomotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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