TU-AB-303-04: Characterizing CT-Derived Mass Change of Non-Tumor Pathology During Lung Radiotherapy




Atelectasis and other commonly-observed non-tumor lung pathologies (NTPs) can change during thoracic radiotherapy altering normal anatomy and inducing large changes in tumor position. However, the characteristics of these changes are not well understood. This study investigates longitudinal NTP tissue mass change during radiotherapy.


Delineation of corresponding atelectatic regions before and after re-aeration is challenging since it is difficult to detect atelectatic-region boundaries after re-aeration. Therefore, individual lobes were delineated and analyzed instead. A radiation oncologist contoured the tumor and individual lobes in the planning and mid-treatment CTs for 7 patients. Each lobe was eroded by 2–4 voxels, which was found to reduce effects of inadvertent chest wall in the lobe delineation but still preserve the mean density of the lobe. The mass of each lobe was calculated after removing the tumor region. The uninvolved lobes were used as controls.


Mean mass change for contralateral, ipsilateral without NTP, and NTP lobes were +2.1 (18.0) %, −9.4 (18.2) %, and −13.4 (40.1) %, respectively. For NTP lobes, the degree and direction of change depended on atelectasis resolution type (full or partial), with mean mass change for full resolution of −43.1 (16.2) % and +4.5 (40.1) % for partial. The standard deviation for NTP lobes is likely higher due to actual changes in mass as well as increased delineation variability in the presence of tumor and lung consolidation. Median mean density change was −46.4% for NTP lobes, showing significant difference from contralateral (p=8.2×10−⁴) and NTP-free ipsilateral lobes (p=0.006).


No noticeable mass change occurred for pathology-free lobes. As NTP fully resolved, mass of the lobe decreased. One possible explanation is that the release of retained fluid and infiltrate commonly associated with NTP accounts for the reduced mass.

This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01CA166119. The authors have no conflicts of interest.