Technical note| Volume 45, P143-145, January 2018

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Thermoluminescence dosimetry of the dose received by scrotum and testes in radiotherapy of rectal cancer, compared to the point doses calculated by 3D-planning software


      • TLD-measured dose to testes in rectal cancer radiotherapy is clinically significant.
      • Testes point doses calculated by planning software is similar to TLD-measured doses.
      • Testes dose can be well estimated by planning software outside the radiation fields.
      • The manuscript also briefly discusses and summarizes the previous works on this issue.



      Radiation received by the testes in the course of radiotherapy for rectal cancer may cause oligospermia and azospermia. We sought to determine the dose to the scrotum and testes with thermoluminescence dosimetry (TLD), and compare it to the dose calculated by 3D planning software.


      The TLDs were fixed to the scrotum in six points anteriorly and posteriorly in two fractions of radiotherapy. All patients received a 50–50.4 Gy total dose in prone position with 3D-planning. The average dose of TLD measurements was compared to the average of 6 relevant point doses calculated by the planning software.


      The mean scrotal dose of radiation in 33 patients as measured by TLD was 3.77 Gy (7.5% of the total prescribed dose), and the mean of point doses calculated by the planning software was 4.11 Gy (8.1% of the total dose), with no significant difference. A significant relationship was seen between the position of the inferior edge of the fields and the mean scrotal dose (P = .04). Also body mass index (BMI) was inversely related with the scrotal dose (P = .049).


      We found a dose of about 4 Gy received by the scrotum and testes from a total prescribed dose of 50 Gy in the radiotherapy of rectal carcinoma patients, with TLD measurements confirming testicular dose estimations by the planning software. This dose could be significantly harmful for spermatogenesis. Thus careful attention to the testicular dose in radiotherapy of rectal cancer for men desiring continued fertility is a necessity.


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