Radiation therapy physics
Comparison between target margins derived from 4DCT scans and real-time tumor motion tracking: Insights from lung tumor patients treated with robotic radiosurgery
A unique capability of the CyberKnife system is dynamic target tracking. However, not all patients are eligible for this approach. Rather, their tumors are tracked statically using the vertebral column for alignment. When using static tracking, the internal target volume (ITV) is delineated on the four-dimensional (4D) CT scan and an additional margin is added to account for setup uncertainty [planning target volume (PTV)]. Treatment margins are difficult to estimate due to unpredictable variations in tumor motion and respiratory pattern during the course of treatment. The inability to track the target and detect changes in respiratory characteristics might result in geographic misses and local tumor recurrences. The purpose of this study is to develop a method to evaluate the adequacy of ITV-to-PTV margins for patients treated in this manner.
Data from 24 patients with lesions in the upper lobe (n = 12), middle lobe (n = 3), and lower lobe (n = 9) were included in this study. Each patient was treated with dynamic tracking and underwent 4DCT scanning at the time of simulation. Data including the 3D coordinates of the target over the course of treatment were extracted from the treatment log files and used to determine actual target motion in the superior–inferior (S–I), anterior–posterior (A–P), and left–right (L–R) directions. Different approaches were used to calculate anisotropic and isotropic margins, assuming that the tumor moves as a rigid body. Anisotropic margins were calculated by separating target motion in the three anatomical directions, and a uniform margin was calculated by shifting the gross tumor volume contours in the 3D space and by computing the percentage of overlap with the PTV. The analysis was validated by means of a theoretical formulation.
The three methods provided consistent results. A uniform margin of 4.5 mm around the ITV was necessary to assure 95% target coverage for 95% of the fractions included in the analysis. In the case of anisotropic margins, the expansion required in the S–I direction was larger (8.1 mm) than those in the L–R (4.9 mm) and A–P (4.5 mm) directions. This margin accounts for variations of target position within the same treatment fraction.
The use of bony alignment for CyberKnife lung stereotactic body radiation therapy requires careful considerations, in terms of the potential for increased toxicity or local miss. Our method could be used by other centers to determine the adequacy of ITV-to-PTV margins for their patients.