WE-FG-202-03: Quantitative CT-Based Analysis to Assess Lung Injury Following Proton Radiotherapy




Relative to photon alternatives, the increased dose-conformity associated with proton therapy is expected to reduce the extent of radiation-induced lung toxicity. However, analysis of follow-up data is yet to be published in this area. In this study we retrospectively analyzed late-phase HU changes for proton therapy cohorts of chest wall and lung patients.


From our institution's register of patients treated using double-scattered protons, all chest wall and stereotactic lung cases (treated 2011–2012 and 2008–2014 respectively) were initially considered. Follow-up CT data were accessible for 10 chest wall cases (prescribed 50.4 GyRBE in 28 fractions) and 16 lung cases (prescribed 42–50 GyRBE in 3–4 fractions). CT time-points ranged from 0.5–3.5 years post-treatment. Planning doses were recalculated using TOPAS Monte Carlo simulations and mapped onto the follow-up images using deformable registration. Excluding internal target volumes, changes in HU between each patient's planning and follow-up CT(s) were evaluated for dose bins of 2–30 GyRBE (2 GyRBE increments).


Linear increases in HU per unit dose, with correlations statistically significant at the 1% level (one-sided Spearman's rank test), were evident for all 10 chest wall cases and 14/16 lung cases. The mean changes in HU/Gy were: 1.76 (SD=0.73) for the chest wall cohort, and 1.40 (SD=0.87) for the lung cohort. The median scan times post treatment were 21 and 12 months respectively. All 26 patients developed solid consolidation (scar-like radiographic opacities) within the exposed lung(s).


Analysis of follow-up CTs revealed statistically significant correlations in HU-change/dose for two proton cohorts (lung and chest wall). Quantitatively, the late-phase changes we report broadly match published photon data. Further analysis of such radiographic changes, particularly via matched cohort studies drawing upon consistent imaging protocols, could play an important role in elucidating inter-modality differences and provide insight into proton RBE for lung injury.

Tracy Underwood gratefully acknowledges the support of the European Commission under an FP7 Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship for Career Development (#630064).

This work was also funded under U19 grant CA 021239 (PI: Delaney).