Current practice in total-body irradiation: results of a Canada-wide survey

R.C.N. Studinski, D.J. Fraser, R.S. Samant, M.S. MacPherson



Total-body irradiation (tbi) is used to condition patients before bone marrow transplant. A variety of tbi treatment strategies have been described and implemented, but no consensus on best practice has been reached. We report on the results of a survey created to assess the current state of tbi delivery in Canada.


A 19-question survey was distributed to 49 radiation oncology programs in Canada. Responses were received from 20 centres, including 12 centres that perform tbi. A variety of tbi dose prescriptions was reported, although 12 Gy in 6 fractions was used in 11 of the 12 centres performing tbi. Half of the centres also reported using a dose prescription unique to their facility.Most centres use an extended-distance parallel-opposed-pair technique, with the patient standing or lying on a stretcher against a wall. Others translate the patient under the beam, sweep the beam over the patient, or use a more complicated multi-field technique. All but 1 centre indicated that they attenuate the lung dose; only 3 centres indicated attenuating the dose for other organs at risk. The survey also highlighted the considerable resources used for tbi, including extra staff, prolonged planning and treatment times, and use of locally developed hardware or software.


At transplant centres, tbi is commonly used, but there is no commonly accepted approach to planning and treatment delivery. The important discrepancies in practice between centres in Canada creates an opportunity to prompt more discussion and collaboration between centres, improving consistency and uniformity of practice.


Total-body irradiation; tbi; radiotherapy

Full Text:



Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)