Technical note: Investigation of dose and LETd effect to rectum and bladder by using non-straight laterals in prostate cancer receiving proton therapy

Yunze Yang, Jean Claude M. Rwigema, Carlos Vargas, Nathan Y. Yu, Sameer R. Keole, William W. Wong, Steven E. Schild, Martin Bues, Wei Liu, Jiajian Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parallel-opposed lateral beams are the conventional beam arrangements in proton therapy for prostate cancer. However, when considering linear energy transfer (LET) and RBE effects, alternative beam arrangements should be investigated. Purpose: To investigate the dose and dose averaged LET (LETd) impact of using new beam arrangements rotating beams 5°–15° posteriorly to the laterals in prostate cancer treated with pencil-beam-scanning (PBS) proton therapy. Methods: Twenty patients with localized prostate cancer were included in this study. Four proton treatment plans for each patient were generated utilizing 0°, 5°, 10°, and 15° posterior oblique beam pairs relative to parallel-opposed lateral beams. Dose-volume histograms (DVHs) from posterior oblique beams were analyzed. Dose-LETd-volume histogram (DLVH) was employed to study the difference in dose and LETd with each beam arrangement. DLVH indices, (Formula presented.), defined as the cumulative absolute volume that has a dose of at least d (Gy[RBE]) and a LETd of at least l (keV/µm), were calculated for both the rectum and bladder to the whole group of patients and two-sub groups with and without hydrogel spacer. These metrics were tested using Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results: Rotating beam angles from laterals to slightly posterior by 5°–15° reduced high LETd volumes while it increased the dose volume in the rectum and increased LETd in bladders. Beam angles rotated five degrees posteriorly from laterals (i.e., gantry in 95° and 265°) are proposed since they achieved the optimal balance of better LETd sparing and minimal dose increase in the rectum. A reduction of V(50 Gy[RBE], 2.6 keV/µm) from 7.41 to 3.96 cc (p < 0.01), and a slight increase of V(50 Gy[RBE], 0 keV/µm) from 20.1 to 21.6 cc (p < 0.01) were observed for the group without hydrogel spacer. The LETd sparing was less effective for the group with hydrogel spacer, which achieved the reduction of V(50 Gy[RBE], 2.6 keV/µm) from 4.28 to 2.10 cc (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Posterior oblique angle plans improved LETd sparing of the rectum while sacrificing LETd sparing in the bladder in the treatment of prostate cancer with PBS. Beam angle modification from laterals to slightly posterior may be a strategy to redistribute LETd and perhaps reduce rectal toxicity risks in prostate cancer patients treated with PBS. However, the effect is reduced for patients with hydrogel spacer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7428-7437
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • dose averaged linear energy transfer
  • dose-LET volume histogram
  • pencil-beam-scanning proton therapy
  • posterior oblique angle
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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