Equivalence of hyperfractionated and continuous brachytherapy in a rat tumor model and remarkable effectiveness when preceded by external irradiation.
SourceInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, 49, 5, (2001), pp. 1351-1360
Article / Letter to editor
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International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
SubjectExperimental radiotherapy and neuro-oncology.; Experimentele radiotherapie en neuro-oncologie.
PURPOSE: In clinical brachytherapy, there is a tendency to replace continuous low-dose-rate (LDR) irradiation by either single-dose or fractionated high-dose-rate (HDR) irradiation. In this study, the equivalence of LDR treatments and fractionated HDR (2 fractions/day) or pulsed-dose-rate (PDR, 4 fractions/day) schedules in terms of tumor cure was investigated in an experimental tumor model. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Tumors (rat rhabdomyosarcoma R1M) were grown s.c. in the flank of rats and implanted with 4 catheters guided by a template. All interstitial radiation treatment (IRT) schedules were given in the same geometry. HDR was given using an (192)Ir single-stepping source. To investigate small fraction sizes, part of the fractionated HDR and PDR schedules were applied after an external irradiation (ERT) top-up dose. The endpoint was the probability of tumor control at 150 days after treatment. Cell survival was estimated by excision assay. RESULTS: Although there was no fractionation effect for fractionated HDR given in 1 or 2 fractions per day, TCD(50)-values were substantially lower than that for LDR. A PDR schedule with an interfraction interval of 3 h (4 fractions/day), however, was equivalent to LDR. The combination of ERT and IRT resulted in a remarkably increased tumor control probability in all top-up regimens, but no difference was found between 2 or 4 fractions/day. Catheter implantation alone decreased the TCD(50) for single-dose ERT already by 17.4 Gy. Cell viability assessed at 24 h after treatment demonstrated an increased effectiveness of interstitial treatment, but, after 10 Gy ERT followed by 10 Gy IRT (24-h interval), it was not less than that calculated for the combined effect of these treatments given separately. CONCLUSION: In full fractionation schedules employing large fractions and long intervals, the sparing effect of sublethal damage repair may be significantly counteracted by reoxygenation. During 3-h intervals, however, repair may be largely completed with only partial reoxygenation causing PDR schedules to be less effective than fractionated HDR, and equivalent to LDR. Brachytherapy with clinically sized fractions after a large external top-up dose showed a remarkable increase in tumor control rate with no effect of fractionation (up to 4 fractions/day), which could not be fully explained by differences in dose distribution or in the cell viability assessed after treatment. This suggests a longer lasting effect on cell survival or radiosensitivity associated with catheter implantation shortly after the top-up dose.
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