To demonstrate that utilization of the direction-modulated brachytherapy (DMBT) concept can significantly improve treatment plan quality in the setting of high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy for cervical cancer. The new, MRI-compatible, tandem design has 6 peripheral holes of 1.3-mm diameter, grooved along a nonmagnetic tungsten-alloy rod (ρ = 18.0 g/cm(3)), enclosed in Delrin tubing (polyoxymethylene, ρ = 1.41 g/cm(3)), with a total thickness of 6.4 mm. The Monte Carlo N-Particle code was used to calculate the anisotropic (192)Ir dose distributions. An in-house-developed inverse planning platform, geared with simulated annealing and constrained-gradient optimization algorithms, was used to replan 15 patient cases (total 75 plans) treated with a conventional tandem and ovoids (T&O) applicator. Prescription dose was 6 Gy. For replanning, we replaced the conventional tandem with that of the new DMBT tandem for optimization but left the ovoids in place and kept the dwell positions as originally planned. All DMBT plans were normalized to match the high-risk clinical target volume V100 coverage of the T&O plans. In general there were marked improvements in plan quality for the DMBT plans. On average, D2cc for the bladder, rectum, and sigmoid were reduced by 0.59 ± 0.87 Gy (8.5% ± 28.7%), 0.48 ± 0.55 Gy (21.1% ± 27.2%), and 0.10 ± 0.38 Gy (40.6% ± 214.9%) among the 75 plans, with best single-plan reductions of 3.20 Gy (40.8%), 2.38 Gy (40.07%), and 1.26 Gy (27.5%), respectively. The high-risk clinical target volume D90 was similar, with 6.55 ± 0.96 Gy and 6.59 ± 1.06 Gy for T&O and DMBT, respectively. Application of the DMBT concept to cervical cancer allowed for improved organ at risk sparing while achieving similar target coverage on a sizeable patient population, as intended, by maximally utilizing the anatomic information contained in 3-dimensional imaging. A series of mechanical and clinical validations are to be followed.
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