In volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) planning, usually the collimator is rotated to minimize interleaf leakage and the tongue-and-groove effect. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of collimator angle on the dosimetric results of VMAT plans for patients with a locally-advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (LA-NPC). VMAT treatment planning sets were generated using the same planning parameters, but with different collimator angles for 11 LA-NPC patients. Each set was composed of 10 plans with collimator angles at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, 40, and 45 degrees. Dosimetric parameters, such as target coverage, organs at risk (OAR), and dose conformity, were analyzed at various collimator angles. With increasing collimator angles, the absorbed doses to the optic apparatus were increased by up to 35% comparing to that at a collimator angle of 0°. The best value of the conformity index (CI) was 0.971 ± 0.023 at collimator angles of 20° and 30°. The worst value of CI was 0.917 ± 0.051 at a collimator angle of 0°. The homogeneity index (HI)95 and HI98 had the best values of 0.106 ± 0.040 and 0.079 ± 0.031, respectively, at a collimator angle of 25°. The worst values of HI95 and HI98 were 0.136 ± 0.039 and 0.105 ± 0.032, respectively, at a collimator angle of of 0°. The maximum doses for some OARs (body, ear, parotid gland, mandible, and brainstem) and the HI did not show any statistically significant differences. However, the mean doses had positive correlations (r = 0.449 ~ 0.773, p<0.001) with the irradiated volume. The CI had a weak positive correlation (r = 0.316, p<0.001) with the irradiated volume. Other comparison parameters were evaluated as functions of the collimator angle. These findings will give useful information for choosing the collimator angle in VMAT plans for patients with a LA-NPC.
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