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Volume 22, Number 3, 2017

Dosimetric impact in the dose–volume histograms of rectal and vesical wall contouring in prostate cancer IMRT treatments

Laura Gómez, Carlos Andrés, Antonio Ruiz



The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the differences in dose–volume histograms of IMRT treatments for prostate cancer based on the delineation of the main organs at risk (rectum and bladder) as solid organs or by contouring their wall.


Rectum and bladder have typically been delineated as solid organs, including the waste material, which, in practice, can lead to an erroneous assessment of the risk of adverse effects.

Materials and methods

A retrospective study was made on 25 patients treated with IMRT radiotherapy for prostate adenocarcinoma. 76.32 Gy in 36 fractions was prescribed to the prostate and seminal vesicles. In addition to the delineation of the rectum and bladder as solid organs (including their content), the rectal and bladder wall were also delineated and the resulting dose–volume histograms were analyzed for the two groups of structures.


Data analysis shows statistically significant differences in the main parameters used to assess the risk of toxicity of a prostate radiotherapy treatment. Higher doses were received on the rectal and bladder walls compared to doses received on the corresponding solid organs.


The observed differences in terms of received doses to the rectum and bladder based on the method of contouring could gain greater importance in inverse planning treatments, where the treatment planning system optimizes the dose in these volumes. So, one should take into account the method of delineating of these structures to make a clinical decision regarding dose limitation and risk assessment of chronic toxicity.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2017; 22(3) : 223-230

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