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Does TomoDirect 3DCRT represent a suitable option for post-operative whole breast irradiation? A hypothesis-generating pilot study

Valeria Casanova Borca12, Pierfrancesco Franco3, Paola Catuzzo1, Fernanda Migliaccio3, Flora Zenone1, Stefania Aimonetto1, Andrea Peruzzo1, Massimo Pasquino2, Giuliana Russo2, Maria Rosa La Porta34, Domenico Cante4, Piera Sciacero4, Giuseppe Girelli4, Umberto Ricardi5 and Santi Tofani12*

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Medical Physics, Ospedale Regionale ‘U. Parini’, AUSL Valle d’Aosta, Aosta, Italy

2 Departments of Medical Physics, Azienda Sanitaria ASL TO 4, Ivrea, Italy

3 Department of Radiation Oncology, Ospedale Regionale ‘U. Parini’, AUSL Valle d’Aosta, Aosta, Italy

4 Departments of Radiotherapy, Azienda Sanitaria ASL TO 4, Ivrea, Italy

5 Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Radiation Oncology Unit, University of Torino, Ospedale S. Giovanni Battista, Turin, Italy

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Radiation Oncology 2012, 7:211  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-7-211

Published: 14 December 2012



This study investigates the use of TomoDirectTM 3DCRT for whole breast adjuvant radiotherapy (AWBRT) that represents a very attractive treatment opportunity, mainly for radiotherapy departments without conventional Linacs and only equipped with helical tomotherapy units.


Plans were created for 17 breast cancer patients using TomoDirect in 3DCRT and IMRT modality and field-in-field 3DCRT planning (FIF) and compared in terms of PTV coverage, overdosage, homogeneity, conformality and dose to OARs. The possibility to define patient-class solutions for TD-3DCRT employment was investigated, correlating OARs dose constraints to patient specific anatomic parameters.


TD-3DCRT showed PTV coverage and homogeneity significantly higher than TD-IMRT and FIF. PTV conformality was significantly better for FIF, while no differences were found between TD-3DCRT and TD-IMRT. TD-3DCRT showed mean values of the OARs dosimetric endpoints significantly higher than TD-IMRT; with respect to FIF, TD-3DCRT showed values significantly higher for lung V20Gy, mean heart dose and V25Gy, while contralateral lung maximum dose and contralateral breast mean dose resulted significantly lower. The Central Lung Distance (CLD) and the maximal Heart Distance (HD) resulted as useful clinical tools to predict the opportunity to employ TD-3DCRT: positive correlations were found between CLD and both V20Gy and mean lung dose and between HD and both V25Gy and the mean heart dose. TD-3DCRT showed a significantly shorter mean beam-on time than TD-IMRT.


The present study showed that TD-3DCRT and TD-IMRT are two feasible and dosimetrically acceptable treatment approach for AWBRT, with an optimal PTV coverage and adequate OARs sparing. Some concerns might be raised in terms of dose to organs at risks if TD-3DCRT is applied to a general population. A correct patients clusterization according to simple quantitative anatomic measures, would help to correctly allocate patients to the appropriate treatment planning strategy in terms of target coverage, but also of normal tissue sparing.