Dose distributions generated on a static anatomy may differ significantly from those delivered to temporally varying anatomy such as for abdominal and thoracic tumors, due largely in part to the unavoidable organ motion and deformation effects stemming from respiration. In this work, the degree of such variation for three treatment techniques, namely static conventional, gating and target tracking radiotherapy, was investigated. The actual delivered dose was approximated by planning all the phases of a 4DCT image set. Data from six (n = 6) previously treated lung cancer patients were used for this study with tumor motion ranging from 2 to 10 mm. Complete radiobiological analyses were performed to assess the clinical significance of the observed discrepancies between the 3D and 4DCT image-based dose distributions. Using the complication-free tumor control probability (P+) objective, we observed small differences in P+ between the 3D and 4DCT image-based plans (<2.0% difference on average) for the gating and static conventional regimens and higher differences in P+ (4.0% on average) for the tracking regimen. Furthermore, we observed, as a general trend, that the 3D plan underestimated the P+ values. While it is not possible to draw any general conclusions from a small patient cohort, our results suggest that there exists a patient population in which 4D planning does not provide any additional benefits beyond that afforded by 3D planning for static conventional or gated radiotherapy. This statement is consistent with previous studies based on physical dosimetric evaluations only. The higher differences observed with the tracking technique suggest that individual patient plans should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assess if 3D or 4D imaging is appropriate for the tracking technique.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging