The limited availability of proton beam therapy (PBT) requires individual treatment selection strategies that can be based on normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) models. We developed and externally validated NTCP models for common late side-effects following PBT in brain tumour patients to optimise patients’ quality of life.
Cohorts from three PBT centres (216 patients) were investigated for several physician-rated endpoints at 12 and 24 months after PBT: alopecia, dry eye syndrome, fatigue, headache, hearing and memory impairment, and optic neuropathy. Dose-volume parameters of associated normal tissues and clinical factors were used for logistic regression modelling in a development cohort. Statistically significant parameters showing high area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values in internal cross-validation were externally validated. In addition, analyses of the pooled cohorts and of time-dependent generalised estimating equations including all patient data were performed.
In the validation study, mild alopecia was related to high dose parameters to the skin [e.g. the dose to 2% of the volume (D2%)] at 12 and 24 months after PBT. Mild hearing impairment at 24 months after PBT was associated with the mean dose to the ipsilateral cochlea. Additionally, the pooled analyses revealed dose-response relations between memory impairment and intermediate to high doses to the remaining brain as well as D2% of the hippocampi. Mild fatigue at 24 months after PBT was associated with D2% to the brainstem as well as with concurrent chemotherapy. Moreover, in generalised estimating equations analysis, dry eye syndrome was associated with the mean dose to the ipsilateral lacrimal gland.
We developed and in part validated NTCP models for several common late side-effects following PBT in brain tumour patients. Validation studies are required for further confirmation.