Dosimetric comparison of two afterloaders and treatment planning systems in vaginal high-dose-rate brachytherapy

Deborah C. Marshall, Julie R. Bloom, Zahra Ghiassi-Nejad, Vishal Gupta, Audrey Saitta, Allison Powers, Ren Dih Sheu, Yeh Chi Lo, Vishruta Dumane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In treatment planning for high-dose-rate (HDR) single-channel vaginal cylinder brachytherapy, dose distribution along the cylinder is influenced by the anisotropy of the source. Differences in anisotropy are due to differences in source dimensions and characteristics. In this study, we compared HDR vaginal cylinder brachytherapy treatment plans from two afterloader/treatment planning systems. Material and methods: Seventy-five plans with prescription to the surface were generated for cylinders in Varian BrachyVision and Elekta Oncentra. To understand the impact of source anisotropy on dose distribution to the surface of the cylinder, potential effect caused by differences in cylinder geometry between systems was eliminated by re-planning Varian cylinder using Elekta source model. Mean relative dose was calculated for each point as well as the dome and length of the cylinder. Related-samples Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were performed to compare the mean relative dose between systems. Results: Treatment plans with VariSource iX source and cylinder demonstrated 16.2% lower (p < 0.001) dose at the tip compared to Elekta v.3. Average dose to the points along the dome of cylinder was 128.4% ±17.9% prescription dose with VariSource iX source and cylinder, and 99.9% ±4.3% with Elekta v.3 source and cylinder. For the same cylinder geometry, the effect of source characteristics produced up to 36.8% difference in dose homogeneity. When cylinder types were planned with the same source, there was no significant difference in dose distribution. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the effect of source characteristics produced up to 37% difference in dose homogeneity when comparing two afterloader/treatment planning systems, independent of cylinder geometry. This insight on variation in dose surrounding source system is imperative for dosimetry considerations. Depending on the choice of afterloader, the extent of EQD2 for tumor control versus normal tissue toxicity can vary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • HDR brachytherapy
  • brachytherapy
  • endometrial cancer
  • quality
  • radiation therapy
  • source anisotropy
  • toxicity
  • vaginal cylinder


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