Steering in locoregional deep hyperthermia: Evaluation of common practice with 3D-planning
Purpose: In Rotterdam, fifteen years of clinical experience with deep hyperthermia has sublimated in empirical treatment guidelines. In this paper, a hyperthermia treatment planning system (HTPS) is employed to investigate the effect of these guidelines on global power distribution, their effectiveness and the rationale behind each guideline. Materials and methods: Four guidelines were investigated. The first two prescribe steering actions for balancing intraluminal temperatures and alleviating complaints of deep-seated pain or pressure. The third guideline handles superficial complaints of pain or heat sensation. The last guideline states that frequency should be increased from 77 MHz upwards in case of multiple, opposite, painful regions uncontrollable by the previous steering actions. For all steering actions it is assumed that input power is increased until complaints occur. Sigma Hyperplan was used to calculate specific absorption rate (SAR) distributions for five patient models with locally advanced cervical cancer. Absorbed power ratios of different regions of interest were evaluated to illustrate steering efficacy and complaint reduction. Results and conclusions: Phase steering is effective in shifting the central power distribution to the periphery, and is an appropriate method to balance temperatures or to handle deep-seated complaints. Reduction of amplitude is the proper action to alleviate superficial complaints of heat or pressure. Compression of the SAR distribution, mainly in the lateral direction, is predicted with increasing frequency. Hence, for complaints in the lower back or on the sides, a frequency increase should be considered. We conclude that the results of the HTPS are in close agreement with the empirical steering guidelines.