IntroductionThe ano-inguinal lymphatic drainage (AILD) is located in the subcutaneous adipose tissue of the proximal medial thigh. Currently, there are no recommendations for an inclusion of the true' AILD in the clinical target volume (CTV) of definitive chemoradiation for anal cancer patients. To estimate the relevance of inguinal recurrence, we compared the incidental dose to the AILD in anal cancer (AC) patients who were treated either with Volumetric Arc Therapy - Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (VMAT-IMRT) or conventional 3D-radiation technique.MethodsOne VMAT-IMRT-plans and one 3D-plans were calculated on the same target volumes and identical dose prescription in ten patients. We defined the volume of the AILD on the planning CT-scans based on the information of new fluorescence methods. Furthermore, we defined several anatomical subvolumes of interest inside the AILD. We examined and compared absolute and relative dosimetric parameters of the AILD and different anatomical subunits.ResultsThe Dmean of the AILD was 40Gy in the 3D-group and 38Gy in the IMRT-group. Dmean and Dmedian as well as the V30Gy of the AILD and all subvolumes of the caudal AILD were significant higher using 3D-RT compared to IMRT. Even though the absolute differences were small, in the caudal aspect of the ano-inguinal lymphatic drainage the V30Gy could be more than 10% less with VMAT-IMRT.Conclusions3D-RT was slightly superior to IMRT in terms of dose coverage of the AILD. However, the absolute differences were very small. Some relevant caudal parts of the AILD received an insufficient dose for treating potential micrometastases. Particularly in high-risk situations, this may lead to inguinal recurrence and therefore the true deep AILD should be included into the target volume in high risk patients.