TU-AB-303-02: A Novel Surrogate to Identify Anatomical Changes During Radiotherapy of Head and Neck Cancer Patients




To develop a novel method to monitor external anatomical changes in head and neck cancer patients in order to help guide adaptive radiotherapy decisions.


The method, developed in MATLAB, reveals internal anatomical changes based on variations observed in external anatomy. Weekly kV-CBCT scans from 11 Head and neck patients were retrospectively analyzed. The pre-processing step first corrects each CBCT for artifacts and removes pixels from the immobilization mask to produce an accurate external contour of the patient's skin. After registering the CBCTs to the initial planning CT, the external contours from each CBCT (CBCTn) are transferred to the first week — reference — CBCT₁. Contour radii, defined as the distances between an external contour and the central pixel of each CBCT slice, are calculated for each scan at angular increments of 1 degree. The changes in external anatomy are then quantified by the difference in radial distance between the external contours of CBCT1 and CBCTn. The radial difference is finally displayed on a 2D intensity map (angle vs radial distance difference) in order to highlight regions of interests with significant changes.


The 2D radial difference maps provided qualitative and quantitative information, such as the location and the magnitude of external contour divergences and the rate at which these deviations occur. With this method, anatomical changes due to tumor volume shrinkage and patient weight loss were clearly identified and could be correlated with the under-dosage of targets or over-dosage of OARs.


This novel method provides an efficient tool to visualize 3D external anatomical modification on a single 2D map. It quickly pinpoints the location of differences in anatomy during the course of radiotherapy, which can help determine if a treatment plan needs to be adapted.