Dose escalated RT may provide improved disease local-control for selected unresectable pancreatic cancer. Accurate delineation of the gross tumor volume (GTV) inside pancreatic head or body would allow safe dose escalation considering the tolerances of adjacent organs at risk (OAR). Here we explore the potential of multi-modality imaging (DCE-MRI, ADC-MRI, and FDG-PET) to define the GTV for dose painting of pancreatic cancer. Volumetric variations of DCE-MRI, ADC-MRI and FDG-PET defined GTVs were assessed in comparison to the findings on CT, and to pathology specimens for resectable and borderline reseactable cases of pancreatic cancer.
A total of 19 representative patients with DCE-MRI, ADC-MRI and FDG-PET data were analyzed. Of these, 8 patients had pathological specimens. GTV, inside pancreatic head/neck, or body, were delineated on MRI (denoted GTVDCE, and GTVADC), on FDG-PET using SUV of 2.5, 40% SUVmax, and 50% SUVmax (denoted GTV2.5, GTV40%, and GTV50%). A Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine whether significant differences existed between GTV volumes.
Significant statistical differences were found between the GTVs defined by DCE-MRI, ADC-MRI, and FDG-PET, with a mean and range of 4.73 (1.00–9.79), 14.52 (3.21–25.49), 22.04 (1.00–45.69), 19.10 (4.84–45.59), and 9.80 (0.32–35.21) cm3 (p<0.0001) for GTVDCE, GTVADC, GTV2.5, GTV40%, and GTV50%, respectively. The mean difference and range in the measurements of maximum dimension of GTVs based on DCE-MRI, ADC-MRI, SUV2.5, 40% SUVmax, and 50% SUVmax compared with pathologic specimens were −0.84 (−2.24 to 0.9), 0.41 (−0.15 to 2.3), 0.58 (−1.41 to 3.69), 0.66 (−0.67 to 1.32), and 0.15 (−1.53 to 2.38) cm, respectively.
Differences exists between DCE, ADC, and PET defined target volumes for RT of pancreatic cancer. Further studies combined with pathological specimens are required to identify the optimal imaging modality and/or acquisition method to define the GTV.