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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: While standard guidelines assist in target delineation for head and neck radiation therapy planning, the complex anatomy, varying patterns of spread, unusual or advanced presentations, and high risk of treatment-related toxicities produce continuous interpretive challenges. In 2007, we instituted weekly treatment planning quality assurance rounds as a joint enterprise of head and neck radiation oncology and neuroradiology. Here we describe its impact on head and neck radiation therapy target delineation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: For 7 months, treatment planning quality assurance included 80 cases of definitive (48%) or postoperative (52%) head and neck radiation therapy. The planning CT and associated target volumes were reviewed in comparison with diagnostic imaging studies. Alterations were catalogued.
RESULTS: Of the 80 cases, 44 (55%) were altered, and of these, 61% had clinically significant changes resulting in exclusion or inclusion of a distinct area or structure. Reasons for alteration included the following: gross or extant tumor, 26/44 (59%); elective or postoperative coverage, 25/44 (57%); lymph nodes, 13/44 (30%); bone, 7/44 (16%); skull base, 7/44 (16%); normal organs, 5/44 (11%); perineural, 3/44 (7%); distant metastasis, 2/44 (5%); and eye, 1/44 (2%). Gross tumor changes ranged from 0.5% to 133.64%, with a median change in volume of 5.95 mm3 (7.86%). Volumes were more likely to be increased (73%) than decreased (27%).
CONCLUSIONS: A collaborative approach to head and neck treatment planning quality assurance has an impact. Cases likely to have challenging patterns of infiltrative, intracranial, nodal, orbital, or perineural spread warrant intensive imaging-based review in collaboration with a diagnostic neuroradiologist.
- clinical tumor volume
- gross tumor volume
- head and neck
- intensity-modulated radiation therapy
- planning target volume
- treatment planning quality assurance
- © 2017 American Society of Neuroradiology