Dosimetric benefits of omitting primary tumor beds in postoperative radiotherapy after transoral robotic surgery using the auto-planning technique


Introduction: It has been suggested that post-transoral robotic surgery (post-TORS) radiotherapy (RT) might reduce the dose to organs at risk (OARs) adjacent to the primary tumor bed; however, the evidence supporting this has yet to be sufficient. This study examined the radiation dose reduction to OARs by omitting the primary tumor bed through the use of an Auto-Planning (AP)-based workflow.

Methods: Twelve patients were identified who underwent post-TORS RT to the primary tumor bed and the unilateral/bilateral neck lymph nodes. In each patient, two treatment plans were designed: a Comprehensive (Comp)-plan treating the original planning target volume (PTV) including both the primary tumor bed and the lymph nodes, and a Neck-plan treating only the lymph nodes and omitting the primary tumor bed. Both plans were optimized using AP to ensure plan quality consistency. We compared the doses received by 95% of the primary tumor beds and lymph nodes (D95%) and our institutional dose constraints for the OARs between the Comp- and Neck-plans. Statistical analysis was performed using R Statistical Software (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria) with a two-tailed paired Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results: All plans met target dose coverage requirements with at least 95% of the PTVs covered with the corresponding prescription doses. The primary tumor bed in the Neck-plans was spared with a significantly lower mean D95% (25.9 Gy vs. 60.0 Gy; p < 0.01; Wilcoxon test). The mean dose to the oral cavity (20.9 Gy vs. 28.1 Gy; p < 0.01) and the supraglottis (36.9 Gy vs. 28.2 Gy; p < 0.01) was significantly lower in the Neck-plans.

Conclusion: This study suggests that sparing the primary tumor bed during post-TORS RT offers dosimetric benefits to nearby OARs with significant dose reductions to the oral cavity and supraglottis. Further study of the clinical risks and benefits afforded by this strategy is needed.



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