Dose-volume specification: New challenges with intensity-modulated radiation therapy

James A. Purdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


It has long been recognized that the specification of volumes and doses is an important issue for radiation oncology. Although in any individual center, policies and procedures of treatment delivery may be well understood by staff, reporting of treatment techniques in the archival literature in an unambiguous manner has been found to be less than desirable in many instances. For clinical studies utilizing three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), and even more so, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), the situation has become even more complex. 3D-CRT and IMRT are now recognized to be more sensitive to geometric uncertainties than conventional radiation therapy because of their ability to create sharper dose gradients around target volumes and organs at risk (OARs). This article reviews the current status of specifying target volumes and doses for 3D-CRT and IMRT, and discusses some of the pertinent issues regarding the use of recommendations in Reports 50 and 62 of the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) in this task. It is imperative that physician and physicist fully appreciate the need to account for clinical and spatial uncertainties in the planning and delivery of cancer patients' treatment, paying even more attention to these issues for those cases in which 3DCRT and/or IMRT is used. A brief review of the reporting requirements for Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 3D-CRT and IMRT protocols is also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


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