PURPOSE: Breast skin thickness is 3 mm (1). The subcutaneous layer (SL) lies immediately beneath the skin and is at risk for local recurrence after breast cancer surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy. As the SL lies within the buildup region for megavoltage radiation treatment, placement of bolus for patients receiving chest wall (CW) radiotherapy (RT) is routine at many centers. The dermal toxicity of bolus is well known: in 12 studies of CW RT, the pooled risk of Grade 3 acute toxicity is 9.6% with bolus and 1.2% without bolus (2). Meanwhile, bolus is rarely used after breast-conserving surgery (BCS) RT for patients with similar cancers. This study examines variation in tangential RT dose coverage of the SL in the intact breast and bolus-free CW with clinically relevant photon beam energies using Monte Carlo (MC) calculations and a commercial treatment planning system (TPS). METHODS: Thirty CT datasets from patients without skin involvement were identified. There were two groups of patients: 15 treated with BCS RT and 15 treated with CW RT. In each group, 5-patient subgroups had tangent-beam RT planned without bolus with 6, 10, and 15 MV photons, respectively, using the Analytical Anisotropic Algorithm (AAA) algorithm (v.13.6.23) in Eclipse v.15.6 (Varian Medical Systems Inc., Palo Alto, CA). On each CT, the SL was segmented as a high-resolution shell from 3 to 5 mm below the body contour in the Eclipse TPS v.15.6 (Varian Medical Systems Inc., Palo Alto, CA). A 1x1x1 mm MC dose simulation was performed using EGSnrc code (BEAMnrc/DOSXYZnrc). The MC dose distributions were imported back into the TPS for comparison with AAA calculations. The V95% and V90% for the SL were calculated for each case and the mean V95% and V90% were reported for each subgroup. A t-test was used with a two-sided alpha = 0.05 for statistical analysis. RESULTS: The mean separation increased with use of higher energies for both BCS and CW RT. The MC-calculated mean SL V90% and V95% were higher for CW RT than for BCS RT at each energy. The V90% coverage was 91.5% for CW and 74.4 % for BCS at 6 MV (p<0.001), 89.3% for CW and 61.3% for BCS (p<0.001) at 10 MV and 87.1% for CW and 60.9% for BCS (p<0.001) at 15 MV (Table 1). For SL V95% the CW coverage was higher than the BCS coverage for every energy. For SL V90% at 6 MV, the AAA and MC calculations agreed within 2.5%, with the MC being slightly higher. The agreement between AAA and MC decreased for higher energies with MC reporting higher SL V90% coverage by up to 16.3%. The higher MC-calculated dose to the SL is consistent with the literature (3). CONCLUSION: MC and AAA SL dose calculations agreed well for 6 MV, but AAA underestimated the dose for 10 and 15 MV. For 6-15 MV photons, the MC-calculated dosimetric coverage of the SL is higher for CW RT than BCS RT. Since radiation oncologists are satisfied with the SL coverage by BCS RT, bolus is not needed for CW RT, because, without bolus, CW RT delivers a higher SL dose than BCS RT. REFERENCES:. 1.Pope TL Jr, et al.J Can Assoc Radiol. 1984 Dec;35(4):365-8. PMID: 6526847. 2.Dahn HM, et al. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2021 Jun 5;163:10339. PMID: 34102286. 3.Panettieri V, et al., Radiother Oncol 2009; 93: 94-101

Table 1.

Monte Carlo calculated mean V90% and V95% for Breast and Chest Wall for each energy

V95%V95%V95%V90%V90%V90%
Energy(MV)Chest Wall(Mean)Breast. (Mean)p-valueChest Wall(Mean)Breast. (Mean)p-value
6 61.9% 35.1% <0.001 91.5% 74.4% <0.001 
10 65.2% 39.7% <0.001 89.3% 61.3% <0.001 
15 61.7% 38.9% 0.012 87.1% 60.9% <0.001 
V95%V95%V95%V90%V90%V90%
Energy(MV)Chest Wall(Mean)Breast. (Mean)p-valueChest Wall(Mean)Breast. (Mean)p-value
6 61.9% 35.1% <0.001 91.5% 74.4% <0.001 
10 65.2% 39.7% <0.001 89.3% 61.3% <0.001 
15 61.7% 38.9% 0.012 87.1% 60.9% <0.001 

Citation Format: Dylan Narinesingh, Alan Nichol, Alanah Bergman, Tony Popescu. Subcutaneous layer dosimetry of the breast and chest wall at clinical beam energies without bolus: A Monte Carlo and analytical anisotropic algorithm (AAA) calculation study [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2021 Dec 7-10; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2022;82(4 Suppl):Abstract nr P3-19-10.