Evaluation of hippocampus dose for patients undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

B. Khodayari, A. L. Michaud, S. Stanic, O. H. Wooten, A. Dublin, J. A. Purdy, A. M. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Methods: 10 patients with biopsy-proven, locally advanced nasopharyngeal cancer constituted the study population. The total prescribed dose to the planning target volume (PTV) was 70Gy (D95%) delivered in 2.12-Gy daily fractions using IMRT. Using established anatomical guidelines, MRI coregistration and the assistance of a board-certified neuroradiologist, the right and left hippocampi were delineated on axial imaging from the CT scan obtained at simulation for each patient beginning at the most anterior portion of the lateral ventricle. IMRT treatment plans were generated without dose-volume constraints to the hippocampus. A range of dose-volume statistics was calculated.

Objective: To evaluate the dose received by the hippocampus among patients undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for nasopharyngeal cancer.

Results: The mean hippocampus volume was 6.01± 2.61cm3. The mean V20 was 72.2%; V40 was 22.0%; V50 was 10.2%; and V60 was 5.5%. The average mean, minimum and maximum hippocampus doses were 30.27Gy (range, 19.08-47.99Gy); 17.54Gy (range, 11.66-33.17Gy); and 54.95Gy (range, 35.59-75.57Gy), respectively. The hippocampus received a maximum dose exceeding 70Gy in 30% of cases.

Conclusion: Our dosimetric analysis suggests that, for patients undergoing IMRT for nasopharyngeal cancer, the hippocampus routinely receives significantly high doses.

Advances in knowledge: The hippocampus receives a fair amount of incidental radiation during treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer. Given the importance of this structure with respect to memory and neurocognitive function, consideration should be given to identifying the hippocampus as a critical organ at risk in the IMRT optimization process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130474
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1037
StatePublished - May 1 2014


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