VMAT Grid Therapy: A Widely Applicable Planning Approach

Michael P. Grams, Dawn Owen, Sean S. Park, Ivy A. Petersen, Michael G. Haddock, Elizabeth B. Jeans, Randi R. Finley, Daniel J. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe a novel and practical volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) planning approach for grid therapy. Methods and Materials: Dose is prescribed to 1.5-cm diameter spherical contours placed throughout the gross tumor volume (GTV). Placement of spheres is variable, but they must maintain at least a 3-cm (center to center) separation, and the edge of any sphere must be at least 1 cm from any organ at risk (OAR). Three concentric ring structures are used during optimization to confine the highest doses to the center of the spheres and maximize dose sparing between them. The end result is alternating regions of high and low dose throughout the GTV and minimal dose to OARs. High-intensity flattening filter-free (FFF) modes are used to efficiently deliver the plans, and entire treatments typically take only 15 to 20 minutes. Results: The approach is illustrated with 2 examples treated at our institution. Patient #1 had a 1703-cm3 mediastinal mass and was prescribed 20 Gray (Gy) to 24 spherical regions within the GTV. Patient #2 had a 3680-cm3 abdominal tumor and was prescribed 18 Gy to 32 spherical regions within the GTV. Both patients received additional consolidative radiation approximately 1 week after the initial VMAT grid treatment. Each patient experienced marked reduction in tumor size and symptomatic relief without treatment-related complications. Conclusions: We have described in detail a planning approach for VMAT grid therapy treatments that can typically be delivered in a clinically practical time span. The VMAT approach is especially useful for tumors that are surrounded by sensitive critical structures. As many centers offer VMAT treatments, the approach is widely accessible and can be readily implemented once appropriate patient selection and delivery processes are established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e339-e347
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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