Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Wayne Newhauser

Committee Member

Rebecca Howell

Committee Member

Rajat Kudchadker

Committee Member

Lei Dong

Committee Member

Dragan Mirkovic

Committee Member

Carol Etzel


The risk of second malignant neoplasms (SMNs) following prostate radiotherapy is a concern due to the large population of survivors and decreasing age at diagnosis. It is known that parallel-opposed beam proton therapy carries a lower risk than photon IMRT. However, a comparison of SMN risk following proton and photon arc therapies has not previously been reported. The purpose of this study was to predict the ratio of excess relative risk (RRR) of SMN incidence following proton arc therapy to that after volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT). Additionally, we investigated the impact of margin size and the effect of risk-minimized proton beam weighting on predicted RRR. Physician-approved treatment plans were created for both modalities for three patients. Therapeutic dose was obtained with differential dose-volume histograms from the treatment planning system, and stray dose was estimated from the literature or calculated with Monte Carlo simulations. Then, various risk models were applied to the total dose. Additional treatment plans were also investigated with varying margin size and risk-minimized proton beam weighting. The mean RRR ranged from 0.74 to 0.99, depending on risk model. The additional treatment plans revealed that the RRR remained approximately constant with varying margin size, and that the predicted RRR was reduced by 12% using a risk-minimized proton arc therapy planning technique. In conclusion, proton arc therapy was found to provide an advantage over VMAT in regard to predicted risk of SMN following prostate radiotherapy. This advantage was independent of margin size and was amplified with risk-optimized proton beam weighting.


second cancer, proton therapy, volumetric modulated arc therapy, VMAT, proton arc therapy, risk optimization