PURPOSE: To investigate the variability of prostate implant quality indices between three different methods of calculating the post-implant dose distribution.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: In a study of 9 permanent prostate implant patients, post-implant dosimetry was carried out using three methods of identifying seed positions within the prostate volume: (1) prostate volumes defined by transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) immediately following implant were registered with shift-film defined seed positions, (2) seeds were identified directly from the post-implant TRUS images, and (3) CT was used to define seed positions and prostate volumes from images acquired at 41-65 days post-implant. For each method, the volume of prostate receiving 90%, 100%, and 150% of the prescribed dose (V90, V100, V150) and the dose delivered to 90% of the prostate volume (D90) were calculated.
RESULTS: Post-implant TRUS volumes were within 15% of the preimplant TRUS volumes in 8 of the 9 patients investigated. The post-implant CT volume was within 15% of the preimplant (TRUS) volume in only 3 of the 9 cases. The value of the dosimetry parameters was dependent on the method used and varied by 5-25% for V90, 5-30% for V100, 42-134% for V150, and 9-60% for D90. No simple relationship was found between change in volume and the resultant change in dosimetry parameter. Differences in dosimetry parameters due to source localization uncertainties was found to be small (< or = 10% for V100) when comparing methods (1) and (2).
CONCLUSIONS: There are many uncertainties in the calculation of parameters that are commonly used to describe the quality of a permanent prostate implant. Differences in the parameters calculated were most likely a result of a combination of factors including uncertainties in delineating the prostate with different imaging modalities, differences in source identification techniques, and intraobserver variability.