Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the relation between various frequently used conformity indices (CIs) and to examine the influence of the target coverage (TC) difference in prescription isodose surface (IDS) on these CI values in dynamic conformal arc (DCA) plans. Method: 73 plans for simple-shaped brain metastases that were previously characterised for dose distribution with regard to the effect of the target volume (TV) and the depth from the skin surface were reviewed. Three different-definition CI values for each TV were calculated at the 80% IDS, and at D99, D95, D90 and D85, considering the interplanner variability in the TC values for the prescription IDS. Results: The CI used as the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group criterion showed nearly perfect values at D90. The CI defined in the BrainSCAN (BrainLAB AG, Feldkirchen, Germany) treatment planning system (CIBS) denoted lower (superior) values as the TC of the reference IDS decreased. Nakamura's CI (NCI) had lower variability but demonstrated lower (superior) values at D95. NCI showed the most stringent (higher) values at an 80% IDS, but the differences between the plans were less distinct with NCI. Conclusion: The TC difference in IDS chosen for dose prescription or evaluation significantly led to CI value variability in a definition-dependent manner, even when NCI was applied. Definition of the reference IDS at a specific TC value according to clinical situation would reduce the CI value variability to a minimum and would make the CIBS sufficient for the objective metric with a perfect value of 1.
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