• An analysis of breast motion using high-frequency, dense surface points captured by an optical sensor during radiotherapy treatment delivery.

      Price, Gareth J; Sharrock, Phillip J; Marchant, Thomas E; Parkhurst, J M; Burton, D; Jain, Pooja; Price, Patricia M; Moore, Christopher J; North Western Medical Physics, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK. Gareth.Price@physics.cr.man.ac.uk (2009-11-07)
      Patient motion is an important factor affecting the quality of external beam radiotherapy in breast patients. We analyse the motion of a dense set of surface points on breast patients throughout their treatment schedule to assess the magnitude and stability of motion, in particular, with respect to breast volume. We use an optical sensor to measure the surface motion of 13 breast cancer patients. Patients were divided into two cohorts dependent upon breast volume. Measurements were made during radiotherapy treatment beam delivery for an average of 12 fractions per patient (total 158 datasets). The motion of each surface point is parameterized in terms of its period, amplitude and relative phase. Inter-comparison of the motion parameters across treatment schedules and between patients is made through the creation of corresponding regions on the breast surfaces. The motion period is spatially uniform and is similar in both patient groups (mean 4 s), with the small volume cohort exhibiting greater inter-fraction period variability. The mean motion amplitude is also similar in both groups with a range between 2 mm and 4 mm and an inter-fraction variability generally less than 1 mm. There is a phase lag of up to 0.4 s across the breast, led by the sternum. Breast patient motion is reasonably stable between and during treatment fractions, with the large volume cohort exhibiting greater repeatability than the small volume one.
    • Assessment of bladder motion for clinical radiotherapy practice using cine-magnetic resonance imaging.

      McBain, Catherine A; Khoo, Vincent S; Buckley, David L; Sykes, Jonathan S; Green, Melanie M; Cowan, Richard A; Hutchinson, Charles E; Moore, Christopher J; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester, United Kingdom. (2009-11-01)
      PURPOSE: Organ motion is recognized as the principal source of inaccuracy in bladder radiotherapy (RT), but there is currently little information on intrafraction bladder motion. METHODS AND MATERIALS: We used cine-magnetic resonance imaging (cine-MRI) to study bladder motion relevant to intrafraction RT delivery. On two occasions, a 28 minute cine-MRI sequence was acquired from 10 bladder cancer patients and 5 control participants immediately after bladder emptying, after abstinence from drinking for the preceding hour. From the resulting cine sequences, bladder motion was subjectively assessed. To quantify bladder motion, the bladder was contoured in imaging volume sets at 0, 14, and 28 min to measure changes to bladder volumes, wall displacements, and center of gravity (COG) over time. RESULTS: The dominant source of bladder motion during imaging was bladder filling (up to 101% volume increase); rectal and small bowel movements were transient, with minimal impact. Bladder volume changes were similar for all participants. However for bladder cancer patients, wall displacements were larger (up to 58 mm), less symmetrical, and more variable compared with nondiseased control bladders. CONCLUSIONS: Significant and individualized intrafraction bladder wall displacements may occur during bladder RT delivery. This important source of inaccuracy should be incorporated into treatment planning and verification.
    • Blood flow and Vd (water): both biomarkers required for interpreting the effects of vascular targeting agents on tumor and normal tissue.

      Kötz, Barbara; West, Catharine M L; Saleem, Azeem; Jones, Terry; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. (2009-02)
      Positron emission tomography studies with oxygen-15-labeled water provide in vivo quantitative tissue perfusion variables-blood flow and fractional volume of distribution of water [V(d) (water)]. To investigate the relationship between perfusion variables and the effect of vascular-targeting agents on vasculature, we measured tissue perfusion in tumors, spleen, kidney, and liver before and after treatment with combretastatin-A4-phosphate, a combination of nicotinamide and carbogen (N/C), and interferon (IFN). We observed that mean tumor blood flow and V(d) (water) was lower than in kidney, liver, and spleen at baseline. Blood flow and V(d) (water) were related in tumor (r = 0.62; P = 0.004) at baseline, but not in other normal tissues evaluated, where minimal variations in V(d) (water) were observed over a wide range of blood flow. Despite the relationship between blood flow and V(d) (water) in tumors before intervention, vascular-targeting agent-induced changes in these perfusion variables were not correlated. In contrast, changes in blood flow and V(d) (water) correlated in kidney and spleen after N/C and in kidney after combretastatin-A4-phosphate. The close relation between blood flow and V(d) (water) in tumors but not normal tissue may reflect barriers to fluid exchange in tumors because of necrosis and/or increased interstitial fluid pressure and underlies the importance and interdependence of these positron emission tomography perfusion variables under these conditions. As blood flow and V(d) (water) signify different aspects of tissue perfusion, the differential effects of interventions on both variables, flow and V(d) (water), should therefore be reported in future studies.
    • Chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer: a radiotherapy dose escalation and organ motion study.

      Henry, Ann M; Ryder, W David J; Moore, Christopher J; Sherlock, David J; Geh, J I; Dunn, P; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Department of Medical Statistics, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, UK. (2008-09)
      AIMS: To determine the efficacy of radiation dose escalation and to examine organ motion during conformal radiotherapy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-nine patients who were consecutively treated with chemoradiotherapy were studied. Fifteen patients, treated from 1993 to 1997, received 50 Gy in 20 fractions (group I). Twenty-four patients, treated from 1997 to 2003, received an escalated dose of 55 Gy in 25 fractions (group II). Intra-fraction pancreatic tumour motion was assessed in three patients using megavoltage movies during radiation delivery to track implanted radio-opaque markers. RESULTS: Improved survival rates were seen in latterly treated group II patients (P=0.083), who received escalated radiotherapy to smaller treatment volumes due to advances in verification. Worse toxicity effects (World Health Organization grade 3-4) were reported by some patients (<10%), but treatment compliance was similar in both groups, indicating equivalent tolerance. Substantial intra-fraction tumour displacement due to respiratory motion was observed: this was greatest in the superior/inferior (mean=6.6 mm) and anterior/posterior (mean=4.75 mm) directions. Lateral displacements were small (<2 mm). CONCLUSIONS: Dose escalation is feasible in pancreatic cancer, particularly when combined with a reduction in irradiated volume, and enhanced efficacy is indicated. Large, globally applied margins to compensate for pancreatic tumour motion during radiotherapy may be inappropriate. Strategies to reduce respiratory motion, and/or the application of image-guided techniques that incorporate individual patients' respiratory motion into radiotherapy planning and delivery, will probably improve pancreatic radiotherapy.
    • Early clinical evaluation of a novel three-dimensional structure delineation software tool (SCULPTER) for radiotherapy treatment planning.

      McBain, Catherine A; Moore, Christopher J; Green, Matthew M L; Price, Gareth J; Sykes, Jonathan R; Amer, Aminah; Khoo, Vincent S; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. (2008-08)
      Modern radiotherapy treatment planning (RTP) necessitates increased delineation of target volumes and organs at risk. Conventional manual delineation is a laborious, time-consuming and subjective process. It is prone to inconsistency and variability, but has the potential to be improved using automated segmentation algorithms. We carried out a pilot clinical evaluation of SCULPTER (Structure Creation Using Limited Point Topology Evidence in Radiotherapy) - a novel prototype software tool designed to improve structure delineation for RTP. Anonymized MR and CT image datasets from patients who underwent radiotherapy for bladder or prostate cancer were studied. An experienced radiation oncologist used manual and SCULPTER-assisted methods to create clinically acceptable organ delineations. SCULPTER was also tested by four other RTP professionals. Resulting contours were compared by qualitative inspection and quantitatively by using the volumes of the structures delineated and the time taken for completion. The SCULPTER tool was easy to apply to both MR and CT images and diverse anatomical sites. SCULPTER delineations closely reproduced manual contours with no significant volume differences detected, but SCULPTER delineations were significantly quicker (p<0.05) in most cases. In conclusion, clinical application of SCULPTER resulted in rapid and simple organ delineations with equivalent accuracy to manual methods, demonstrating proof-of-principle of the SCULPTER system and supporting its potential utility in RTP.
    • Epidermal growth factor receptor-targeted therapy.

      West, Catharine M L; Joseph, L; Bhana, Sara; Academic Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Christie Hospital, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. catharine.west@manchester.ac.uk (2008-10)
      High epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression is a feature of human tumours and is an adverse prognostic factor for radiotherapy outcome. High expression is associated with benefit from accelerated radiotherapy in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Anti-EGFR strategies potentiate the effects of radiotherapy and the inhibition of deoxyribonucleic acid repair appears to be important amongst a wide range of mechanisms, which include effects on angiogenesis, differentiation and the immunological response. There is considerable interest in exploring combined modality therapies involving radiation and EGFR antagonists for the curative treatment of cancer patients. Important issues in designing new trials are to investigate optimal scheduling and to establish biobanks to develop biomarkers for future patient selection.
    • Exon-array profiling unlocks clinically and biologically relevant gene signatures from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour samples.

      Hall, J S; Leong, Hui Sun; Armenoult, L S C; Newton, G E; Valentine, Helen R; Irlam, Joely J; Möller-Levet, Carla S; Sikand, Kanwal A; Pepper, Stuart D; Miller, Crispin J; et al. (2011-03-15)
      Degradation and chemical modification of RNA in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples hamper their use in expression profiling studies. This study aimed to show that useful information can be obtained by Exon-array profiling archival FFPE tumour samples.
    • Hypoxia-associated markers in gastric carcinogenesis and HIF-2alpha in gastric and gastro-oesophageal cancer prognosis.

      Griffiths, Ewen A; Pritchard, S A; McGrath, S M; Valentine, Helen R; Price, Patricia M; Welch, I M; West, Catharine M L; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Cancer & Imaging Sciences, The University of Manchester, Christie Hospital, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2008-03-11)
      The study investigated hypoxia-associated markers (HIF-2alpha, Epo, Epo-R, Glut-1 and VEGF) along with Ki-67 in a gastric carcinogenesis model, and the prognostic significance of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha in surgically treated gastro-oesophageal cancer. Protein expression was examined using immunohistochemistry on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsies of normal mucosa (n=20), Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis (n=24), intestinal metaplasia (n=24), dysplasia (n=12) and intestinal (n=19) and diffuse (n=21) adenocarcinoma. Relationships between HIF-2alpha expression and prognosis were assessed in resection specimens from 177 patients with gastric and gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Expression of all markers increased with progression along the gastric carcinogenesis sequence (P=0.0001). Hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha was expressed in 63% of 177 resection specimens and at a high level in 44%. The median overall survival in patients with HIF-2alpha-expressing tumours was 22 (95% CI 18-26) months, whereas those with HIF-2alpha-negative tumours had a median survival of 37 (95% CI 29-44) months (P=0.015). Hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha had no independent prognostic significance in multivariate analysis. In view of the lack of independent prognostic significance, HIF-2alpha has no role as a routine prognostic indicator. However, the high expression of HIF-2alpha suggests that it may be of value as a potential therapeutic target.
    • Inter-fraction motion and dosimetric consequences during breast intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

      Jain, Pooja; Marchant, Thomas E; Green, Melanie M; Watkins, Gillian R; Davies, Julie; McCarthy, Claire; Loncaster, Juliette A; Stewart, Alan L; Magee, Brian; Moore, Christopher J; et al. (2009-01)
      BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can improve dose homogeneity within the breast planned target volume (PTV), but may be more susceptible to patient/organ motion than standard tangential radiotherapy (RT). We used daily cone-beam CT (CBCT) imaging to assess inter-fraction motion during breast IMRT and its subsequent impact on IMRT and standard RT dose homogeneity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten breast cancer patients selected for IMRT were studied. CBCT images were acquired immediately after daily treatment. Automatic image co-registration was used to determine patient positioning variations. Daily PTV contours were used to calculate PTV variations and daily delivered IMRT and theoretically planned tangential RT dose. RESULTS: Group systematic (and random) setup errors detected by CBCT were 5.7 (3.9)mm laterally, 2.8 (3.5)mm vertically and 2.3 (3.2)mm longitudinally. Rotations >2 degrees in any axis occurred on 53/106 (50%) occasions. Daily PTV volume varied up to 23%. IMRT dose homogeneity was superior at planning and throughout the treatment compared with standard RT (1.8% vs. 15.8% PTV received >105% planned mean dose), despite increased motion sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS: CBCT revealed inadequacies of current patient positioning and verification procedures during breast RT and confirmed improved dose homogeneity using IMRT for the patients studied.
    • Monitoring dosimetric impact of weight loss with kilovoltage (kV) cone beam CT (CBCT) during parotid-sparing IMRT and concurrent chemotherapy.

      Ho, Kean F; Marchant, Thomas E; Moore, Christopher J; Webster, Gareth J; Rowbottom, Carl G; Pennington, Hazel; Lee, Lip W; Yap, Beng K; Sykes, Andrew J; Slevin, Nicholas J; et al. (2012-03-01)
      Parotid-sparing head-and-neck intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can reduce long-term xerostomia. However, patients frequently experience weight loss and tumor shrinkage during treatment. We evaluate the use of kilovoltage (kV) cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) for dose monitoring and examine if the dosimetric impact of such changes on the parotid and critical neural structures warrants replanning during treatment.
    • A novel imaging technique for fusion of high-quality immobilised MR images of the head and neck with CT scans for radiotherapy target delineation.

      Webster, Gareth J; Kilgallon, J E; Ho, Kean F; Rowbottom, Carl G; Slevin, Nicholas J; Mackay, Ranald I; North Western Medical Physics, Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK. gareth.webster@physics.cr.man.ac.uk (2009-06)
      Uncertainty and inconsistency are observed in target volume delineation in the head and neck for radiotherapy treatment planning based only on CT imaging. Alternative modalities such as MRI have previously been incorporated into the delineation process to provide additional anatomical information. This work aims to improve on previous studies by combining good image quality with precise patient immobilisation in order to maintain patient position between scans. MR images were acquired using quadrature coils placed over the head and neck while the patient was immobilised in the treatment position using a five-point thermoplastic shell. The MR image and CT images were automatically fused in the Pinnacle treatment planning system using Syntegra software. Image quality, distortion and accuracy of the image registration using patient anatomy were evaluated. Image quality was found to be superior to that acquired using the body coil, while distortion was < 1.0 mm to a radius of 8.7 cm from the scan centre. Image registration accuracy was found to be 2.2 mm (+/- 0.9 mm) and < 3.0 degrees (n = 6). A novel MRI technique that combines good image quality with patient immobilization has been developed and is now in clinical use. The scan duration of approximately 15 min has been well tolerated by all patients.
    • Point: why choose pulsed-dose-rate brachytherapy for treating gynecologic cancers?

      Davidson, Susan E; Hendry, Jolyon H; West, Catharine M L; Department of Clinical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. Susan.Davidson@christie.nhs.uk (2010-08-09)
    • Preliminary study of oxygen-enhanced longitudinal relaxation in MRI: a potential novel biomarker of oxygenation changes in solid tumors.

      O'Connor, James P B; Naish, Josephine H; Parker, Geoff J M; Waterton, John C; Watson, Yvonne; Jayson, Gordon C; Buonaccorsi, Giovanni A; Cheung, Susan; Buckley, David L; McGrath, Deirdre M; et al. (2009-11-15)
      PURPOSE: There is considerable interest in developing non-invasive methods of mapping tumor hypoxia. Changes in tissue oxygen concentration produce proportional changes in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) longitudinal relaxation rate (R(1)). This technique has been used previously to evaluate oxygen delivery to healthy tissues and is distinct from blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) imaging. Here we report application of this method to detect alteration in tumor oxygenation status. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Ten patients with advanced cancer of the abdomen and pelvis underwent serial measurement of tumor R(1) while breathing medical air (21% oxygen) followed by 100% oxygen (oxygen-enhanced MRI). Gadolinium-based dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI was then performed to compare the spatial distribution of perfusion with that of oxygen-induced DeltaR(1). RESULTS: DeltaR(1) showed significant increases of 0.021 to 0.058 s(-1) in eight patients with either locally recurrent tumor from cervical and hepatocellular carcinomas or metastases from ovarian and colorectal carcinomas. In general, there was congruency between perfusion and oxygen concentration. However, regional mismatch was observed in some tumor cores. Here, moderate gadolinium uptake (consistent with moderate perfusion) was associated with low area under the DeltaR(1) curve (consistent with minimal increase in oxygen concentration). CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence that oxygen-enhanced longitudinal relaxation can monitor changes in tumor oxygen concentration. The technique shows promise in identifying hypoxic regions within tumors and may enable spatial mapping of change in tumor oxygen concentration.
    • The small-nucleolar RNAs commonly used for microRNA normalisation correlate with tumour pathology and prognosis.

      Gee, H E; Buffa, F M; Camps, C; Ramachandran, A; Leek, R; Taylor, M; Patil, M; Sheldon, H; Betts, Guy N J; Homer, J; et al. (2011-03-29)
      To investigate small-nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) as reference genes when measuring miRNA expression in tumour samples, given emerging evidence for their role in cancer.
    • Suboptimal use of intravenous contrast during radiotherapy planning in the UK.

      Kim, Su Woon; Russell, Wanda; Price, Patricia M; Saleem, Azeem; Department of Clinical Oncology, Christie Hospital, Manchester, UK. (2008-12)
      We aimed to evaluate the use of intravenous (IV) contrast during acquisition of radiotherapy planning (RTP) scans and to compare current usage with the Royal College of Radiologists' (RCR) recommendations. Questionnaires were circulated via the Academic Clinical Oncology and Radiobiology Research Network (ACORRN) website, email and post to 60 UK radiotherapy centre managers. Questions were asked regarding the (i) tumour sites where IV contrast was used, (ii) person administering the contrast, (iii) availability of dynamic pump, (iv) tumour sites that centres wished to use contrast, (v) reasons for not using contrast and (vi) awareness of RCR recommendations. 50 (83%) centres responded to the questionnaire, of which 27 responded via the ACCORN website and 18 by e-mail. Despite 38 out of 50 responding centres using IV contrast, and accessibility to dynamic pumps existing in 39 centres, IV contrast usage was suboptimal, with more than half of the centres (27/50; 54%) wishing to use it at more tumour sites. IV contrast was most often used during RTP of the brain, with suboptimal usage in lung tumours. None of the 50 centres administered IV contrast during RTP scan acquisition in all of the 8 RCR recommended tumour sites. Radiographers were mainly responsible for contrast administration, and a lack of staff was cited as the main reason for suboptimal contrast usage. Disappointingly, only 35 of the 50 radiotherapy managers (70%) were aware of the RCR recommendations. Redress of the underlying reasons for suboptimal IV contrast administration during RTP, including acquisition of the necessary skill mix by staff and implementation of RCR recommendations, would help standardize UK practice.
    • Use of multiple biological markers in radiotherapy-treated head and neck cancer.

      Silva, Priyamal; Slevin, Nicholas J; Sloan, Philip; Valentine, Helen R; Ryder, W David J; Price, Patricia M; West, Catharine M L; Homer, Jarrod J; School of Cancer & Enabling Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. (2010-06)
      OBJECTIVE: Management of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is often based on clinical parameters, with little appreciation of the underlying tumour biology. Single biological marker studies fail to acknowledge the complexity of these tumours. Our aim was to define a profile of biological markers associated with outcome. DESIGN: This retrospective study involved consecutive patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated with primary radiotherapy between 1996 and 2001. Pre-treatment biopsies were used to study the immunohistochemical expression of nine biological markers. Markers were chosen to reflect biologically relevant pathways. RESULTS: Following analysis of nine markers, a profile of two markers was derived (carbonic anhydrase 9 and major vault protein), the co-expression of which conferred a significantly poor probability of locoregional control. The prognostic effect of these biomarkers in combination was greater than their effect individually. CONCLUSION: Biomarker profiles can be established which highlight large differences in locoregional control. Identifying tumours that express both carbonic anhydrase 9 and major vault protein may facilitate patient selection for more aggressive treatment.