Feasibility study of helical tomotherapy for total body or total marrow irradiation

Susanta K. Hui, Jeff Kapatoes, Jack Fowler, Douglas Henderson, Gustavo Olivera, Rafael R. Manon, Bruce Gerbi, T. R. Mackie, James S. Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Total body radiation (TBI) has been used for many years as a preconditioning agent before bone marrow transplantation. Many side effects still plague its use. We investigated the planning and delivery of total body irradiation (TBI) and selective total marrow irradiation (TMI) and a reduced radiation dose to sensitive structures using image-guided helical tomotherapy. To assess the feasibility of using helical tomotherapy, (A) we studied variations in pitch, field width, and modulation factor on total body and total marrow helical tomotherapy treatments. We varied these parameters to provide a uniform dose along with a treatment times similar to conventional TBI (15-30 min). (B) We also investigated limited (head, chest, and pelvis) megavoltage CT (MVCT) scanning for the dimensional pretreatment setup verification rather than total body MVCT scanning to shorten the overall treatment time per treatment fraction. (C) We placed thermoluminescent detectors (TLDs) inside a Rando phantom to measure the dose at seven anatomical sites, including the lungs. A simulated TBI treatment showed homogeneous dose coverage (±10%) to the whole body. Doses to the sensitive organs were reduced by 35%-70% of the target dose. TLD measurements on Rando showed an accurate dose delivery (±7%) to the target and critical organs. In the TMI study, the dose was delivered conformally to the bone marrow only. The TBI and TMI treatment delivery time was reduced (by 50%) by increasing the field width from 2.5 to 5.0 cm in the inferior-superior direction. A limited MVCT reduced the target localization time 60% compared to whole body MVCT. MVCT image-guided helical tomotherapy offers a novel method to deliver a precise, homogeneous radiation dose to the whole body target while reducing the dose significantly to all critical organs. A judicious selection of pitch, modulation factor, and field size is required to produce a homogeneous dose distribution along with an acceptable treatment time. In addition, conformal radiation to the bone marrow appears feasible in an external radiation treatment using image-guided helical tomotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3214-3224
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Michael Verneris, Dr. Rupak Das, Dr. Seymour Levitt, Dr. Bruce Thomadsen, Dr. Bhudatt Paliwal, Dr. Minesh Mehta, and Dr. Kathryn Dusenbery for their helpful discussion. We would like to thank Tiffany J Glass for assisting in figure preparation. The authors associated with TomoTherapy Inc. have a financial interest in that company. This work was partially supported by NCI grant P01 CA088960.


  • Limited MVCT
  • MVCT
  • Tomotherapy
  • Total body irradiation (TBI)
  • Total marrow irradiation (TMI)

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