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The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of multileaf collimator (MLC) leaf width on treatment adaptation and delivery accuracy for concurrent treatment of the prostate and pelvic lymph nodes with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

Seventy-five kilovoltage cone beam CTs (KV-CBCT) from six patients were included for this retrospective study. For each patient, three different IMRT plans were created based on a planning CT using three different MLC leaf widths of 2.5, 5, and 10 mm, respectively. For each CBCT, the prostate displacement was determined by a dual image registration. Adaptive plans were created by shifting selected MLC leaf pairs to compensate for daily prostate movements. To evaluate the impact of MLC leaf width on the adaptive plan for each daily CBCT, three MLC shifted plans were created using three different leaf widths of MLCs (a total of 225 adaptive treatment plans). Selective dosimetric endpoints for the tumor volumes and organs at risk (OARs) were evaluated for these adaptive plans. Using the planning CT from a selected patient, MLC shifted plans for three hypothetical longitudinal shifts of 2, 4, and 8 mm were delivered on the three linear accelerators to test the deliverability of the shifted plans and to compare the dose accuracy of the shifted plans with the original IMRT plans.

Adaptive plans from 2.5 and 5 mm MLCs had inadequate dose coverage to the prostate (D99 < 97%, or < 99% of the planned dose) in 6%–8% of the fractions, while adaptive plans from 10 mm MLC led to inadequate dose coverage to the prostate in 25.3% of the fractions. The average of the prostate over the six patients was improved by 6.4% (1.6%–32.7%) and 5.8% (1.5%–35.7%) with adaptive plans from 2.5 and 5 mm MLCs, respectively, when compared with adaptive plans from 10 mm MLC. Pelvic lymph nodes were well covered for all MLC adaptive plans, as small differences were observed for D99, , and . Similar OAR sparing could be achieved for the bladder and rectum with all three MLCs for treatment adaptation. The MLC shifted plans can be accurately delivered on all three linear accelerators with accuracy similar to their original IMRT plans, where gamma (3%/3 mm) passing rates were 99.6%, 93.0%, and 92.1% for 2.5, 5, and 10 mm MLCs, respectively. The percentages of pixels with dose differences between the measurement and calculation being less than 3% of the maximum dose were 85.9%, 82.5%, and 70.5% for the original IMRT plans from the three MLCs, respectively.

Dosimetric advantages associated with smaller MLC leaves were observed in terms of the coverage to the prostate, when the treatment was adapted to account for daily prostate movement for concurrent irradiation of the prostate and pelvic lymph nodes. The benefit of switching the MLC from 10 to 5 mm was significant ( ≪ 0.01); however, switching the MLC from 5 to 2.5 mm would not gain significant ( = 0.15) improvement. IMRT plans with smaller MLC leaf widths achieved more accurate dose delivery.


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