External Radiation Therapies : EBRT : Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is a newer type of external radiation therapy where the computer assists in the treatment planning process. This process is somewhat different from three-dimensional radiation therapy in that the physician sets the goals of the radiation treatment and the computer helps arrive at those goals. In IMRT, the pattern of radiation in each of the radiation beams is varied rather than having a relatively homogeneous pattern in standard radiation therapy. The computer calculates the optimal pattern of radiation for each radiation field in order to meet the goals of the physician. Generally, this results in a greater dose of radiation to the tumor and/or less radiation to normal tissue. IMRT thus has the potential to cure more tumors and have less toxicity compared to conventional therapy. In order to deliver the optimal pattern of radiation in each field a multi-leaf collimator is utilized. This device changes the shape of the radiation beam during therapy.

IMRT has potential applications in the treatment of prostate, brain, head and neck cancers. Protocols are under development at other sites including breast cancer and retroperitoneal sarcomas. Abundant information can be found about IMRT with an internet search, by entering the keyword “IMRT”.

UAB was the first to bring IMRT to Alabama in 1999.

Body Sites Multiple sites
Physicians All
Therapeutic Technique EBRT
Radioactive Source Photons
Equipment Varian Linear Accelerator
Method of Delivery External

For more information, please view the following websites: