Three-dimensional applicator system for carcinoma of the uterine cervix.
PURPOSE: Intracavitary dose prescription for cancer of the uterine cervix has been based on the use of plane orthogonal films. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging can provide three-dimensional (3D) anatomic information with which more sophisticated treatment planning can be carried out. This work describes a new tandem and ovoids design that permits modern 3D dosimetry and has the same placement flexibility for the physician as the applicators currently being used. METHODS AND MATERIALS: The external shape of the Fletcher-Suit-Delclos (FSD) minicolpostat tandem and ovoids system has been used as a model to build a prototype of a new applicator. The prototype colpostats are constructed out of aluminum and steel. The tandems are made of aluminum. The Fletcher shields are eliminated. A new method of using tungsten for dose attenuation and shielding has been designed. Longitudinal alignment of the tungsten shields makes the new system possible. This applicator is CT-compatible. RESULTS: Dose calculations for the new design are compared to a commercial version of the FSD applicator. Both the aluminum prototype and a simple extension of the prototype to a plastic applicator system are considered. It is shown that the principal difference in dose is that the dose is reduced in the region inferior to the center of the ovoids. All configurations (plastic caps on or off) are equivalently shielded for the new device. In addition, an intermediate mini-ovoid configuration can be used clinically via the introduction of a D-shaped cap. The latter reduces the high dose to the vaginal mucosal surfaces. CONCLUSION: For a single ovoid, a comparison of dose with the FSD shows differences; however, the difference in dose is insignificant when the complete applicator, tandem, and ovoids are compared. With this new applicator, it is now possible to accumulate very accurate and detailed 3D dose-distribution data for the critical structures and other points of interest in the vicinity of the applicator. These data will permit future analysis of the correlation of dose and outcome for carcinoma of the cervix.
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