Course report

Clinical Practice and Implementation of Image-Guided Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy - PDF Version

10 December 2020 – 9 February 2021, online

Course directors:

Matthias Guckenberger, Radiation oncologist, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Dirk Verellen, medical physicist, Iridium Kankernetwerk, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Could you please briefly introduce yourself?

I am a young radiation oncologist based in Bordeaux (France), where I recently completed my training and have just taken a position of clinical chief assistant in the Radiotherapy Department of my institute. I am particularly interested in stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and I spent two years at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV or Lausanne University Hospital) in Switzerland to learn this technique. My main areas of interest in clinical research are oligometastatic cancer and the relationship between radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

Why did you choose to attend this course?

Radiotherapy is a broad speciality, the basic principle of which is interdisciplinarity. As a radiation oncologist, it is necessary for me to understand the different technical and physical aspects of treatments. This is particularly important in complex techniques such as SBRT, which calls for knowledge of the most advanced developments in all radiotherapy fields such as radiobiology, clinical reasoning, physics, or motion management. Due to its profoundly interdisciplinary and pedagogical status, this course organised by the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy and Oncology makes it possible to address all these aspects and to understand in its entirety the principles of stereotaxy. It is an important course for everyone!

What aspects of the course were the most interesting and why?

In my opinion, the most interesting parts of this course concerned the technical and physical aspects of SBRT, both during the first course on its general aspects and during the technical reminders that were specific to each location.

In addition, the theoretical parts on the clinical interest of SBRT, particularly in the context of oligometastatic disease, were very interesting and made it possible to clarify an often complex situation.

Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, the exchanges with the presenters were carried out in the form of questions written through a chat system. This was very successful; the interaction was immediate, the questions numerous and interesting. All were able to be answered in the form of a summary pdf, which was sent to all participants; this effort on the part of the trainers should be highlighted, as it contributed to the quality of this course.

Did the course activities improve your knowledge and skills in the relevant subject?

Absolutely. Both theoretically and practically, this course provides the knowledge necessary to understand and apply an SBRT project within a radiation therapy department. In particular, the safety aspects of such treatment, from planning to delivery, are extensively developed and provide additional safety in daily practice.

Did the course meet your expectations? If so, how?

This course both met and exceeded my expectations. The topics that were discussed were broad, but they were synthesised in an efficient way without obscuring any important aspect. The multidisciplinary aspect was at the heart of the course, and despite the apparent difficulty of certain subjects, the pedagogy of the ESTRO faculty made these subjects, I think, accessible to all.

List three important ‘takeaways’ following the course.

Interdisciplinarity and teamwork: the implementation of an SBRT programme requires that each team member understands the goals and challenges of their colleagues, physicists or physicians.

The implementation of robust protocols and the continuous evaluation of practices: this requires the establishment of a common language between centres, particularly in terms of dose reporting.

Careful monitoring of scientific data, particularly regarding toxicity and dose constraints to organs at risk.

How will what you have learnt be implemented in your daily job/ clinical practice?

My department is strongly developing its practice of SBRT. The contribution of this ESTRO course will help to improve the “SBRT culture” of the different members of the team and help each to participate actively in the establishment of new protocols.

How would you encourage someone who has never been to an ESTRO Course to join this course next year/ in two years?

I will encourage my colleagues, especially the younger ones, to participate in this course in order to understand the principles and requirements of SBRT, given the impact of this technique on the treatment of patients and on daily practice.


Florent Vilotte
Assistant clinical chief
Department of Radiation Oncology
Institut BergoniƩ
Bordeaux, France