Conventional vs. conformal radiotherapy for prostate cancer: Preliminary results of dosimetry and acute toxicity

Alan Pollack, Gunar K. Zagars, George Starkschall, Constance H. Childress, Susan Kopplin, Arthur L. Boyer, Isaac I. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Purpose: To compare conformal radiotherapy using three dimensional treatment planning (3D-CRT) to conventional radiotherapy (Conven-RT) for patients with Stages T2-T4 adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Methods and Materials: A Phase III randomized study was activated in May 1993, to compare treatment toxicity and patient outcome after 78 Gy in 39 fractions using 3D- CRT to that after 70 Gy in 35 fractions using Conven-RT. The first 46 Gy were administered using the same nonconformal field arrangement (four-field) in both arms. The boost was given nonconformally using four-fields in the Conven-RT arm and conformally using six fields in the 3D-CRT arm. The dose was specified to the isocenter. The first 60 patients, 29 in the 3D-CRT arm and 31 in the Conven-RT arm, are the subject of this preliminary analysis. Results: The two treatment arms were first compared in terms of dosimetry by dose-volume histogram analysis. Using a subgroup of patients in the 3D-CRT arm (n = 15), both Conven-RT and 3D-CRT plans were generated and the dose- volume histogram data compared. The mean volumes treated to doses above 60 Gy for the bladder and rectum were 28 and 36% for the 3D-CRT plans, and 43 and 38% for the Conven-RT plans, respectively (p < 0.05 for the bladder volumes). The mean clinical target volume (prostate and seminal vesicles) treated to 95% of the prescribed dose was 97.5% for the 3D-CRT arm, and 95.6% for the Conven-RT arm (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in the acute reactions between the two arms, with the majority experiencing Grade 2 or less toxicity (92%). Moreover, no relationship was seen between acute toxicity and the volume of bladder and rectum receiving in excess of 60 Gy for those in the 3D-CRT arm. There was also no difference between the groups in terms of early biochemical response. Prostate-specific antigen levels at 3 and 6 months after completion of radiotherapy were similar in the two treatment arms. There was only one biochemical failure in the study population at the time of the analysis. Conclusions: Comparison of the Conven-RT and 3D-CRT treatment plans revealed that significantly less bladder was in the high dose volume in the 3D-CRT plans, while the volume of rectum receiving doses over 60 Gy was equivalent. There were no differences between the two treatment arms in terms of acute toxicity or early biochemical response. Longer follow-up is needed to determine the impact of 3D-CRT on long-term patient outcome and late reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute toxicity
  • Conformal radiotherapy
  • Dosimetry
  • Prostate specific antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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