Doses in organs at risk during Head & Neck radiotherapy using IMRT and 3D-CRT

  • Magdalena Peszyńska-Piorun


Aim: To compare IMRT to 3D-CRT treatment in terms of dose distribution to organs at risk (OAR) in head and neck (H&N) cancer.

Background: Treatment planning for H&N cancer is complex due to the number OAR located near the planning treatment volume (PTV). Distant OAR must also be taken into consideration. IMRT and 3D-CRT are both common H&N treatment techniques with very different planning approaches. Although IMRT allows on better dose conformity in PTV, to date there are much less evidence as to which technique delivers less dose to OARs.

Materials and Methods: This was a prospective study of a series of 25 patients diagnosed with stage cT3-4N0-2 laryngeal cancer. All patients underwent total laryngectomy and bilateral selective neck dissections. In all cases, patients were treated with IMRT, although a 3D-CRT treatment plan was also developed for the comparative analysis. To compare doses to specific OAR, we developed a novel comparative index based on sub-volumes.

Results: In general, IMRT appears to deliver comparable or greater doses to OAR, although the only significant differences were found in the cerebellum, in which 3D-CRT was found to better spare the organ.

Conclusion: Organs located outside of the IMRT beam (i.e., distant organs) are generally thought to be well-spared. However, the results of this study show that, in the case of the cerebellum, that was not true. This finding suggests that larger studies should be performed to understand the effects of IMRT on distant tissues. Anthropomorphic phantom studies could also confirm these results.

Author Biography

Magdalena Peszyńska-Piorun
M.Kopernik Memorial Regional Specialized Hospital, Lodz, Poland
How to Cite
Peszyńska-Piorun, M. (2013). Doses in organs at risk during Head & Neck radiotherapy using IMRT and 3D-CRT. Radiology and Oncology, 46(4). Retrieved from
Clinical oncology