SU-E-J-66: Significant Anatomical and Dosimetric Changes Observed with the Pharyngeal Constrictor During Head and Neck Radiotherapy Elicited From Daily Deformable Image Registration and Dose Accumulation




To evaluate the anatomical changes and associated dosimetric consequences to the pharyngeal constrictor (PC) that occurs during head and neck radiotherapy (H&N RT).


A cohort of 13 oro-pharyngeal cancer patients, who had daily CBCT's for localization, was retrospectively studied. On every 5th CBCT, PC was manually delineated by a radiation oncologist. The anterior-posterior PC thickness was measured at the C3 level. Delivered dose to PC was estimated by calculating daily doses on CBCT's, and accumulating to corresponding planning CT images. For accumulation, a parameter-optimized B- spline-based deformable image registration algorithm (Elastix) was used, in conjunction with an energy-mass mapping dose transfer algorithm. Mean and maximum dose (Dmean, Dmax) to PC was determined and compared with corresponding planned quantities.


The mean (±standard deviation) volume increase (ΔV) and thickness increase (Δt) over the course of 35 total fractions were 54±33% (11.9±7.6 cc), and 63±39% (2.9±1.9 mm), respectively. The resultant cumulative mean dose increase from planned dose to PC (ΔDmean) was 1.4±1.3% (0.9±0.8 Gy), while the maximum dose increase (ΔDmax) was 0.0±1.6% (0.0±1.1 Gy). Patients with adaptive replanning (n=6) showed a smaller mean dose increase than those without (n=7); 0.5±0.2% (0.3±0.1 Gy) vs. 2.2±1.4% (1.4±0.9 Gy). There was a statistically significant (p<0.0001) strong correlation between ΔDmean and Δt (Pearson coefficient r=0.78), and a moderate-to-strong correlation (r=0.52) between ΔDmean and ΔV. Correlation between ΔDmean and weight loss ΔW (r=0.1), as well as ΔV and ΔW (r=0.2) were negligible.


Patients were found to undergo considerable anatomical changes to pharyngeal constrictor during H&N RT, resulting in non-negligible dose deviations from intended dose. Results are indicative that pharyngeal constrictor thickness, measured at C3 level, is a good predictor for the dose change to the organ. Daily deformable registration and dose accumulation provide a reliable means to assess important anatomical and dosimetric changes to pharyngeal constrictor occurring during treatment.

This work was supported in part by a research grant from Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA