Radiotherapy for esophageal cancer entails high-dose irradiation of the myocardium owing to its close anatomical proximity to the esophagus. This study aimed to evaluate the dosimetric impact of functional avoidance planning for the myocardium with volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) in patients with esophageal cancer and determine the feasibility of functional planning. Ten patients with early stage esophageal cancer were included in this study. The prescribed dose was 60 Gy administered in 30 fractions. An experienced physician contoured the left ventricle (LV) of the myocardium. For each patient, an anatomical plan (non-LV-sparing plan) and a functional plan (LV-sparing plan) were created using the VMAT. In the functional plan, the mean percentage of LV volume receiving a dose of ≥ 30 and ≥ 40 Gy was 6.0% ± 6.7% and 2.4% ± 2.7%, respectively, whereas in the anatomical plan, they were 11.7% ± 13.1% and 4.9% ± 6.5%, respectively. There were no significant differences with respect to the dose to the hottest 1 cm3 of the planning target volume (PTV) and the minimum dose of the gross tumor volume and the dosimetric parameters of other normal tissues between the anatomical and functional plans. We compared the anatomical and functional plans of patients with esophageal cancer undergoing VMAT. Our results demonstrated that the functional plan reduced the dose to the LV with no significant differences in the organs at risk and PTV, indicating that avoidance planning can be safely performed when administering VMAT in patients with esophageal cancer.
- Esophageal cancer
- Functional planning
- Left ventricle
- Volumetric modulated arc therapy