Impact of dose size in single fraction spatially fractionated (grid) radiotherapy for melanoma

Hualin Zhang, Hualiang Zhong, Rolf F. Barth, Minsong Cao, Indra J. Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the impact of dose size in single fraction, spatially fractionated (grid) radiotherapy for selectively killing infiltrated melanoma cancer cells of different tumor sizes, using different radiobiological models. Methods: A Monte Carlo technique was employed to calculate the 3D dose distribution of a commercially available megavoltage grid collimator in a 6 MV beam. The linear-quadratic (LQ) and modified linear quadratic (MLQ) models were used separately to evaluate the therapeutic outcome of a series of single fraction regimens that employed grid therapy to treat both acute and late responding melanomas of varying sizes. The dose prescription point was at the center of the tumor volume. Dose sizes ranging from 1 to 30 Gy at 100% dose line were modeled. Tumors were either touching the skin surface or having their centers at a depth of 3 cm. The equivalent uniform dose (EUD) to the melanoma cells and the therapeutic ratio (TR) were defined by comparing grid therapy with the traditional open debulking field. The clinical outcomes from recent reports were used to verify the authors' model. Results: Dose profiles at different depths and 3D dose distributions in a series of 3D melanomas treated with grid therapy were obtained. The EUDs and TRs for all sizes of 3D tumors involved at different doses were derived through the LQ and MLQ models, and a practical equation was derived. The EUD was only one fifth of the prescribed dose. The TR was dependent on the prescribed dose and on the LQ parameters of both the interspersed cancer and normal tissue cells. The results from the LQ model were consistent with those of the MLQ model. At 20 Gy, the EUD and TR by the LQ model were 2.8% higher and 1% lower than by the MLQ, while at 10 Gy, the EUD and TR as defined by the LQ model were only 1.4% higher and 0.8% lower, respectively. The dose volume histograms of grid therapy for a 10 cm tumor showed different dosimetric characteristics from those of conventional radiotherapy. A significant portion of the tumor volume received a very large dose in grid therapy, which ensures significant tumor cell killing in these regions. Conversely, some areas received a relatively small dose, thereby sparing interspersed normal cells and increasing radiation tolerance. The radiobiology modeling results indicated that grid therapy could be useful for treating acutely responding melanomas infiltrating radiosensitive normal tissues. The theoretical model predictions were supported by the clinical outcomes. Conclusions: Grid therapy functions by selectively killing infiltrating tumor cells and concomitantly sparing interspersed normal cells. The TR depends on the radiosensitivity of the cell population, dose, tumor size, and location. Because the volumes of very high dose regions are small, the LQ model can be used safely to predict the clinical outcomes of grid therapy. When treating melanomas with a dose of 15 Gy or higher, single fraction grid therapy is clearly advantageous for sparing interspersed normal cells. The existence of a threshold fraction dose, which was found in the authors' theoretical simulations, was confirmed by clinical observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021727
JournalMedical physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • equivalent uniform dose
  • melanoma
  • spatially fractionated (grid) radiotherapy
  • therapeutic ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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