Strahlentherapie und Onkologie. 2008 Jan;184(1):8-14. [Link]

Sterzing F, Schubert K, Sroka-Perez G, Kalz J, Debus J, Herfarth K.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Heidelberg, INF 400, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany,


Background and Purpose: Helical tomotherapy was introduced into clinical routine at the Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital of Heidelberg, Germany, in July 2006. This report is intended to describe the experience with the first 150 patients treated with helical tomotherapy. Patient selection, time effort, handling of daily image guidance with megavoltage (MV) CT, and quality of radiation plans shall be assessed.

Patients and Methods: Between July 2006 and May 2007, 150 patients were treated with helical tomotherapy in the University Hospital of Heidelberg. Mean age was 60 years with a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 85 years. 79 of these patients received radiotherapy as a part of multimodal treatment pre- or postoperatively, 17 patients received treatment as a combined radiochemotherapy. 76% were treated with curative intent. Radiotherapy sites were central nervous system (n = 7), head and neck (n = 28), thoracic (n = 37), abdominal (n = 58) and skeletal system (n = 20). Most common tumor entities were prostate cancer (n = 28), breast cancer (n = 17), gastrointestinal tumors (n = 19), pharyngeal carcinoma (n = 14), lymphoma (n = 13), metastatic disease (bone n = 14, liver n = 6, lung n = 4, lymph node n = 2), sarcoma (n = 8), malignant pleural mesothelioma (n = 5), ovarian cancer treated with whole abdominal irradiation (n = 4), lung cancer (n = 3), skin malignancies (n = 3), chordoma (n = 2), meningioma (n = 2), one ependymoma and one medulloblastoma treated with craniospinal axis irradiation (n = 2), and others (n = 4). Nine patients were treated with single-fraction radiosurgery, nine with image-guided spinal reirradiation, and twelve patients were treated at multiple targets simultaneously. A pretreatment MV-CT scan was performed in 98.2% of the 3,026 fractions applied. After matching with the kilovoltage planning CT, corrections for translations and rotation around longitudinal axis (roll) were done.

Results: Mean time on table was 24.8 min for the mentioned tumor entities with fractionated radiation, mean treatment time 10.7 min. Mean correction vector after MV-CT registration was 6.9 mm. With helical tomotherapy it was possible to achieve highly conformal dose distributions for targets of all sizes and multiple targets within one procedure. Image guidance with MV-CT allowed daily position correction and safe and precise treatment application. This was feasible even if the desired immobilization was not possible due to obesity, claustrophobia, pain, or neurologic or orthopedic impairment.

Conclusion: Helical tomotherapy and daily image guidance with MV-CT could fast be introduced into daily clinical routine. This technique allows precise intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in standard cases and offers new treatment options in a huge variety of difficult cases.

Keywords: Helical tomotherapy – IMRT – IGRT – Megavoltage CT