Background and Purpose:
The magnetic resonance linear accelerator system (MR Linac) is a novel piece of radiotherapy (RT) equipment allowing the routine application of daily MR-guided treatment adaptation. The hardware design required for such technical capabilities and the increased complexity of the treatment workflow entails a notable departure from cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)-based RT. Patient tolerability of treatment is paramount to RT practice where high compliance is required. Presented is a comparative analysis of how such modality specific characteristics may ultimately impact the patient experience of treatment.
Materials and Methods:
Forty patients undergoing RT for prostate cancer (PCa) on either the MR Linac (n = 20) or a CBCT-based linac (n = 20) were provided with a validated patient reported outcomes measures (PROM’s) questionnaire at fraction 1 and fraction 20. The 18-item questionnaire provided patient responses recorded using a 4-point Likert scale, 0 denoting a response of ‘Not at all’, 1 ‘Slightly’, 2 ‘Moderately’ and 3 signifying ‘Very’. The analysis provided insight into both comparisons between modalities at singular time points (fractions 1 and 20), as well as a temporal analysis within a single modality, denoting changing patient experience.
Patients generally found the MR Linac treatment couch more comfortable, however, found the increase in treatment duration harder to tolerate. Responses for all items remained stable between first and last fraction across both cohorts, indicating minimal temporal variation within a single modality. None of the responses were statistically significant at the 0·01 level.
Whether radiotherapy for PCa is delivered on a CBCT linac or the MR Linac, there is little difference in patient experience with minimal experiential variation within a single modality.