Measuring uncertainty in dose delivered to the cochlea due to setup error during external beam treatment of patients with cancer of the head and neck

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

To use Cone Beam CT scans obtained just prior to treatments of head and neck cancer patients to measure the setup error and cumulative dose uncertainty of the cochlea.

Methods:

Data from 10 head and neck patients with 10 planning CTs and 52 Cone Beam CTs taken at time of treatment were used in this study. Patients were treated with conventional fractionation using an IMRT dose painting technique, most with 33 fractions. Weekly radiographic imaging was used to correct the patient setup. The authors used rigid registration of the planning CT and Cone Beam CT scans to find the translational and rotational setup errors, and the spatial setup errors of the cochlea. The planning CT was rotated and translated such that the cochlea positions match those seen in the cone beam scans, cochlea doses were recalculated and fractional doses accumulated. Uncertainties in the positions and cumulative doses of the cochlea were calculated with and without setup adjustments from radiographic imaging.

Results:

The mean setup error of the cochlea was 0.04 ± 0.33 or 0.06 ± 0.43 cm for RL, 0.09 ± 0.27 or 0.07 ± 0.48 cm for AP, and 0.00 ± 0.21 or −0.24 ± 0.45 cm for SI with and without radiographic imaging, respectively. Setup with radiographic imaging reduced the standard deviation of the setup error by roughly 1–2 mm. The uncertainty of the cochlea dose depends on the treatment plan and the relative positions of the cochlea and target volumes. Combining results for the left and right cochlea, the authors found the accumulated uncertainty of the cochlea dose per fraction was 4.82 (0.39–16.8) cGy, or 10.1 (0.8–32.4) cGy, with and without radiographic imaging, respectively; the percentage uncertainties relative to the planned doses were 4.32% (0.28%–9.06%) and 10.2% (0.7%–63.6%), respectively.

Conclusions:

Patient setup error introduces uncertainty in the position of the cochlea during radiation treatment. With the assistance of radiographic imaging during setup, the standard deviation of setup error reduced by 31%, 42%, and 54% in RL, AP, and SI direction, respectively, and consequently, the uncertainty of the mean dose to cochlea reduced more than 50%. The authors estimate that the effects of these uncertainties on the probability of hearing loss for an individual patient could be as large as 10%.

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