The purpose of this study was to quantify the systematic uncertainties resulting from using free breathing computed tomography (FBCT) as a reference image for image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) for patients with pancreatic tumors, and to quantify the associated dosimetric impact that resulted from using FBCT as reference for IGRT. Fifteen patients with implanted fiducial markers were selected for this study. For each patient, a FBCT and an average intensity projection computed tomography (AIP) created from four-dimensional computed tomography (4D CT) were acquired at the simulation. The treatment plan was created based on the FBCT. Seventy-five weekly kilovoltage (kV) cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) images (five for each patient) were selected for this study. Bony alignment without rotation correction was performed 1) between the FBCT and CBCT, 2) between the AIP and CBCT, and 3) between the AIP and FBCT. The contours of the fiducials from the FBCT and AIP were transferred to the corresponding CBCT and were compared. Among the 75 CBCTs, 20 that had > 3 mm differences in centers of mass (COMs) in any directions between the FBCT and AIP were chosen for further dosimetric analysis. These COM discrepancies were converted into isocenter shifts in the corresponding planning FBCT, and dose was recalculated and compared to the initial FBCT plans. For the 75 CBCTs studied, the mean absolute differences in the COMs of the fiducial markers between the FBCT and CBCTs were 3.3 mm ± 2.5 mm, 3.5 mm ± 2.4 mm, and 5.8 mm ± 4.4 mm in the right-left (RL), anterior-posterior (AP), and superior-inferior (SI) directions, respectively. Between the AIP and CBCTs, the mean absolute differences were 3.2 mm ± 2.2mm, 3.3 mm ± 2.3 mm, and 6.3 mm ± 5.4 mm. The absolute mean discrepancies in these COMs shifts between FBCT/CBCT and AIP/CBCT were 1.1 mm ± 0.8 mm, 1.3 mm ± 0.9 mm, and 3.3 mm ± 2.6 mm in RL, AP, and SI, respectively. This represented a potential systematic error. For the 20 CBCTs that had COM discrepancies > 3 mm in any direction, the average reduction in planning target volume (PTV) coverage (PTV volume receiving 100% of prescription dose) was 5.3% ± 3.1% (range: 0.7%-12.8%). Using FBCT as a reference for IGRT may introduce potential interfractional systematic COM shifts if the FBCT is acquired at a different breathing phase than the average breathing phase. The potential systematic error could be significant in the SI direction and varied among patients for the other directions. AIP is a better choice of reference image set for IGRT in order to correct interfractional variations due to respiratory motion and nonrespiratory organ displacement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging