To assess dose errors caused by the interplay effects of free-breathing (FB) motion and to assess the value of breath-hold (BH) in terms of cardiac dose reduction for scanning beam proton therapy (SBPT).
Materials and methods
Three patients with left-sided breast cancer previously treated with photon therapy were included in this dosimetric study: 2 following breast-conserving surgery with 2 hypothetical target volumes (whole breast alone and whole breast plus regional nodes, including supraclavicular, axillary, and internal mammary lymph nodes); and 1 postmastectomy, with the target volume including the chest wall plus regional nodes. SBPT plans were generated with various beam angles that ranged between 2 tangential directions. For treatment with FB, nominal dose and dose with interplay effects considered were calculated based on FB 4-dimensional computed tomography scans. SBPT plans on the BH computed tomography were also calculated for one of the patients, who was selected to be treated with photon therapy with BH.
Dosimetric differences between nominal and interplay dose were small (average target mean dose, -0.06 Gy; range, -0.23 to 0.06 Gy; average heart mean dose, 0.001 Gy; range, -0.12 to 0.05 Gy). The largest dose deviations occurred in plans calculated with tangential beam arrangements; the smallest was noted with the en face beam. The average value of the mean heart dose with FB was <1 Gy. For the selected patient, the mean heart doses were 0.5 and 0.2 Gy for FB and BH, respectively.
Dose deviations caused by the interplay effects of respiratory motion during FB do not have a significant impact in SBPT with en face beam arrangement. BH does not significantly reduce cardiac dose. SBPT delivery is feasible with FB and can provide optimal target coverage and maximal sparing of the cardiopulmonary system, which can translate into improved clinical outcomes and a decrease in treatment-related morbidity in left-sided breast cancer patients or those who require internal mammary node coverage.