Background and purpose: The more localized dose deposition of proton therapy (PT) compared to photon therapy might allow a reduction in treatment-related side effects but induces additional challenges to address. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of interfractional motion on the target and organs at risk (OARs) in cervical cancer patients treated with spot scanning PT using an internal target volume (ITV) strategy. Methods and materials: For ten locally advanced cervical cancer patients, empty and full bladder planning computed tomography (pCT) as well as 25 daily cone beam CTs (CBCTs) were available. The Clinical Target Volume (CTV), the High Risk CTV (CTVHR) (gross tumor volume and whole cervix), the non-involved uterus as well as the OARs (bowel, bladder and rectum) were contoured on the daily CBCTs and transferred to the pCT through rigid bony match. Using synthetic CTs derived from pCTs, four-beam spot scanning PT plans were generated to target the patient-specific ITV with 45 Gy(RBE) in 25 fractions. This structure was defined based on pre-treatment MRI and CT to anticipate potential target motion throughout the treatment. D98% of the targets and V40Gy(RBE) of the OARs were extracted from the daily anatomies, accumulated and analyzed. In addition, the impact of bladder volume deviations from planning values on target and bowel dose was investigated. Results: The ITV strategy ensured a total accumulated dose >42.75 Gy(RBE) to the CTVHR for all ten patients. Two patients with large bladder-related uterus motion had accumulated dose to the non-involved uterus of 35.7 Gy(RBE) and 41.1 Gy(RBE). Variations in bowel V40Gy(RBE) were found to be correlated (Pearson r = −0.55; p-value <0.0001) with changes in bladder volume during treatment. Conclusion: The ITV concept ensured adequate dose to the CTVHR, but was insufficient for the non-involved uterus of patients subject to large target interfractional motion. CBCT monitoring and occasional replanning is recommended along the same lines as with photon radiotherapy in cervical cancer.

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Physics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology