Extracranial Stereotactic Radioablation: Physical Principles

Lech Papiez, Robert Timmerman, Colleen DesRosiers, Marcus Randall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Extracranial stereotactic radioablation (ESR) involves treating well-demarcated targeted tissues (e.g. tumor with minimal margin for set-up uncertainties) with very large doses of radiation in single or a few fractions with the intent of causing profound late tissue damage within the targeted volume. In such circumstances, considerable effort must be taken to reduce non-target tissue exposure to the high dose levels in order to prevent late complications to involved organs. Consequently, the following conditions for effective delivery of the ESR techniques have to be satisfied: 1) delivery of a high dose per fraction, i.e. 10-24 Gy; 2) delivery of only a few fractions per course of treatment (e.g. 1-4); 3) shaping of the prescription isodose surface conformally to the target surface; 4) delivery of a non-uniform dose distribution within the target with the highest dose in centrally located regions of hypoxia; 5) rapid fall-off of dose from the target volume to healthy tissue in all directions. In this paper it is shown that high doses per fraction in few fractions can be delivered to a variety of locations with both efficacy and acceptable toxicity (conditions 1 and 2). Conformal shaping of the high isodose surfaces is best accomplished by employing many beams (5-10) each with carefully milled apertures precisely coincident with the target projection (condition 3). Beam intensity modulation creating parabolic beam entrance fluence profiles both concentrates the highest dose in central regions of tumor hypoxia and increases fall-off gradients outside of the target (conditions 4 and 5). It is also shown that isotropic, highly non-coplanar beam arrangements avoiding oppositional fields allow more optimal fall-off gradients to normal tissue as opposed to coplanar treatments (condition 5).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-894
Number of pages13
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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