Incorporation of the LETd-weighted biological dose in the evaluation of breast intensity-modulated proton therapy plans

Chunbo Liu, Dandan Zheng, Julie A. Bradley, Raymond B. Mailhot Vega, Yawei Zhang, Daniel J. Indelicato, Nancy Mendenhall, Xiaoying Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the LETd-weighted biological dose to OARs in proton therapy for breast cancer and to study the relationship of the LETd-weighted biological dose relative to the standard dose (RBE = 1.1) and thereby to provide estimations of the biological dose uncertainties with the standard dose calculations (RBE = 1.1) commonly used in clinical practice. Method: This study included 20 patients who received IMPT treatment to the whole breast/chest wall and regional lymph nodes. The LETd distributions were calculated along with the physical dose using an open-source Monte Carlo simulation package, MCsquare. Using the McMahon linear model, the LETd-weighted biological dose was computed from the physical dose and LETd. OAR doses were compared between the Dose (RBE = 1.1) and the LETd-weighted biological dose, on brachial plexus, rib, heart, esophagus, and Ipsilateral lung. Results: On average, the LETd-weighted biological dose compared to the Dose (RBE = 1.1) was higher by 8% for the brachial plexus D0.1 cc, 13% for the ribs D0.5 cc, 24% for mean heart dose, and 10% for the esophagus D0.1 cc, respectively. The LETd-weighted doses to the Ipsilateral lung V5, V10, and V20 were comparable to the Dose (RBE = 1.1). No statistically significant difference in biological dose enhancement to OARs was observed between the intact breast group and the CW group, with the exception of the ribs: the CW group experienced slightly greater biological dose enhancement (13% vs. 12%, p = 0.04) to the ribs than the intact breast group. Conclusion: Enhanced biological dose was observed compared to standard dose with assumed RBE of 1.1 for the heart, ribs, esophagus, and brachial plexus in breast/CW and regional nodal IMPT plans. Variable RBE models should be considered in the evaluation of the IMPT breast plans, especially for OARs located near the end of range of a proton beam. Clinical outcome studies are needed to validate model predictions for clinical toxicities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • LETd-weighted biological dose
  • breast cancer
  • intensity-modulated proton therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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