Effectiveness of virtual reality simulation software in radiotherapy treatment planning involving non-coplanar beams with partial breast irradiation as a model

S. Glaser, B. Warfel, J. Price, J. Sinacore, K. Albuquerque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Virtual reality simulation software (VRS - FocalSim Version 4.40 with VRS prototype, Computerized Medical Systems, St. Louis, MO) is a new radiation dose planning tool that allows for 3D visualization of the patient and the machine couch (treatment table) in relationship to the linear accelerator. This allows the radiation treatment planner to have a 'room's-eye-view' and enhances the process of virtual simulation. The aim of this study was to compare VRS to a standard planning program (XiO - Version 4.50, Computerized Medical Systems, St. Louis, MO) in regards to the time it took to use each program, the angles chosen in each, and to determine if there was a dosimetric benefit to using VRS. Ten patients who had undergone left-sided lumpectomies were chosen to have treatment plans generated. A partial breast irradiation (PBI) treatment plan by external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) was generated for each patient using two different methods. In the first method the full plan was generated using XiO software. In the second method beam angles were chosen using the VRS software, those angles were transferred to XiO, and the remaining part of the plan was completed using XiO (since VRS does not allow dose calculations). On average, using VRS to choose angles took about 10 minutes longer than XiO. None of the five gantry angles differed significantly between the two programs, but four of the five couch angles did. Dose-volume histogram (DVH) data showed a significantly better conformality index, and trends toward decreased hot spots and increased coverage of the planed treatment volume (PTV) when using VRS. However, when angels were chosen in VRS a greater volume of the ipsilateral breast received a low dose of radiation (between 3% and 50% of the prescribed dose) (VRS 5 23.06%, XiO 5 19.57%, p, 0.0005). A significant advantage that VRS provided over XiO was the ability to detect potential collisions prior to actual treatment of the patient in three of the ten patients studied. The potential to save time with VRS by not having to redo plans because of a collision increases clinic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-414
Number of pages6
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Collision detection
  • Dosimetry
  • Partial breast irradiation
  • Radiation oncology
  • Radiotherapy
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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