Choosing a reference phase for a dynamic tumor tracking treatment: A new degree of freedom?

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Ziegler M, Lettmaier S, Fietkau R, Bert C
Journal: Medical Physics
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 0094-2405
eISSN: 1522-8541


Purpose: With the introduction of dynamic tumor tracking in radiotherapy, it is possible to irradiate moving targets with minimal safety margins. However, most dynamic tumor tracking techniques rely on changing the beam geometry by, for example, adapting the multileaf collimator (MLC) positions or rotating the LINAC head. These changes are relative to a reference position which is determined by a specific breathing phase. Since these changes in the beam path also influence the delivered dose, choosing a different reference position based on a different breathing phase impacts the applied dose to the patient. This work investigates the influence of choosing different reference breathing phases on the dose distribution. Methods: The Vero system tracks the moving target by performing a pan and tilt rotation of the LINAC head. For 13 patients, the target position was extracted from every phase of a four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) and the pan and tilt values were determined with respect to three different reference phases. These reference phases were inspiration, expiration, and the midventilation. For all reference phases, a 4D dose calculation was performed on the 4DCT regarding the respective pan and tilt values. Furthermore, the applied dose to the target and surrounding organs at risk was calculated. To accumulate the dose distribution, weights from the actual patient breathing motion were determined. The weights were calculated from the breathing motions from different days to investigate the impact of daily variations in the breathing motion onto the accumulated dose distribution. All obtained values were then compared to the static treatment plan. Results: The mean and maximum doses applied to the target or surrounding organs at risk show no general behavior depending on the different reference phases. Nevertheless, for some patients, large differences (approx. 30%) in the applied dose to certain organs at risk could be observed, whereas the applied dose to the target shows no dependency on the different reference phases. However, the mean target dose is in all cases approx. 1.5% below the reference value from the static treatment plan. Conclusion: Although no general dependency of the applied dose on the selected reference phase could be found, the choice of the reference phase can have great impact on the organ at risk dose for some patients. Thus, the choice of the reference phase used for patient positioning should be considered during treatment planning since it can be seen as a new degree of freedom of a treatment based on tracking.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Bert, Christoph Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Professur für Med. Strahlenphysik
Fietkau, Rainer Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Strahlentherapie
Ziegler, Marc

How to cite

Ziegler, M., Lettmaier, S., Fietkau, R., & Bert, C. (2019). Choosing a reference phase for a dynamic tumor tracking treatment: A new degree of freedom? Medical Physics.

Ziegler, Marc, et al. "Choosing a reference phase for a dynamic tumor tracking treatment: A new degree of freedom?" Medical Physics (2019).


Last updated on 2019-17-07 at 13:53