Overview

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced form of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT). It uses sophisticated software and hardware to vary the shape and intensity of radiation delivered to different parts of the treatment area. IMRT delivers radiation more precisely to the tumour while relatively sparing the surrounding normal tissues. It also introduces new concepts of inverse planning and computer-controlled radiation deposition and normal tissue avoidance in contrast to the conventional trial-and-error approach. IMRT has wide application in most aspects of radiation oncology because of its ability to create multiple targets and multiple avoidance structures, to treat different targets simultaneously to different doses as well as to weight targets and avoidance structures according to their importance. By delivering radiation with greater precision, IMRT has been shown to minimise acute treatment-related morbidity, making dose escalation feasible which may ultimately improve local tumour control.