• 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.
    • Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI for prostate cancer localization.

      Jackson, Andrew; Reinsberg, S A; Sohaib, S A; Charles-Edwards, E M; Jhavar, S; Christmas, T J; Thompson, A C; Bailey, M J; Corbishley, C M; Fisher, C; et al. (2009-02)
      Radiotherapy dose escalation improves tumour control in prostate cancer but with increased toxicity. Boosting focal tumour only may allow dose escalation with acceptable toxicity. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy can deliver this, but visualization of the tumour remains limiting. CT or conventional MRI techniques are poor at localizing tumour, but dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) may be superior. 18 patients with prostate cancer had T(2) weighted (T2W) and DCE-MRI prior to prostatectomy. The prostate was sectioned meticulously so as to achieve accurate correlation between imaging and pathology. The accuracy of DCE-MRI for cancer detection was calculated by a pixel-by-pixel correlation of quantitative DCE-MRI parameter maps and pathology. In addition, a radiologist interpreted the DCE-MRI and T2W images. The location of tumour on imaging was compared with histology, and the accuracy of DCE-MRI and T2W images was then compared. Pixel-by-pixel comparison of quantitative parameter maps showed a significant difference between the benign peripheral zone and tumour for the parameters K(trans), v(e) and k(ep). Calculation of areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve showed that the pharmacokinetic parameters were only "fair" discriminators between cancer and benign gland. Interpretation of DCE-MRI and T2W images by a radiologist showed DCE-MRI to be more sensitive than T2W images for tumour localization (50% vs 21%; p = 0.006) and similarly specific (85% vs 81%; p = 0.593). The superior sensitivity of DCE-MRI compared with T2W images, together with its high specificity, is arguably sufficient for its use in guiding radiotherapy boosts in prostate cancer.
    • 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.
    • Evaluation of larynx-sparing techniques with IMRT when treating the head and neck.

      Webster, Gareth J; Rowbottom, Carl G; Ho, Kean F; Slevin, Nicholas J; Mackay, Ranald I; North Western Medical Physics, Christie Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK. Gareth.Webster@physics.cr.man.ac.uk (2008-10-01)
      PURPOSE: Concern exists that widespread implementation of whole-field intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for the treatment of head-and-neck cancer has resulted in increased levels of dysphagia relative to those seen with conventional planning. Other investigators have suggested an alternative junctioned-IMRT (J-IMRT) method, which matches an IMRT plan to a centrally blocked neck field to restrict the laryngeal dose and reduce dysphagia. The effect on target coverage and sparing of organs at risk, including laryngeal sparing, in the optimization was evaluated and compared with that achieved using a J-IMRT technique. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A total of 13 oropharyngeal cancer whole-field IMRT plans were planned with and without including laryngeal sparing in the optimization. A comparison of the target coverage and sparing of organs at risk was made using the resulting dose-volume histograms and dose distribution. The nine plans with disease located superior to the level of the larynx were replanned using a series of J-IMRT techniques to compare the two laryngeal-sparing techniques. RESULTS: An average mean larynx dose of 29.1 Gy was achieved if disease did not extend to the level of the larynx, with 38.8 Gy for disease extending inferiorly and close to the larynx (reduced from 46.2 and 47.7 Gy, respectively, without laryngeal sparing). Additional laryngeal sparing could be achieved with J-IMRT (mean dose 24.4 Gy), although often at the expense of significantly reduced coverage of the target volume and with no improvement to other areas of the IMRT plan. CONCLUSION: The benefits of J-IMRT can be achieved with whole-field IMRT if laryngeal sparing is incorporated into the class solution. Inclusion of laryngeal sparing had no effect on other parameters in the plan.
    • IMRT dose fractionation for head and neck cancer: variation in current approaches will make standardisation difficult.

      Ho, Kean F; Fowler, Jack F; Sykes, Andrew J; Yap, Beng K; Lee, Lip W; Slevin, Nicholas J; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Manchester, Christie Hospital, Wilmslow Road, Manchester, UK. (2009)
      INTRODUCTION: Altered fractionation has demonstrated clinical benefits compared to the conventional 2 Gy/day standard of 70 Gy. When using synchronous chemotherapy, there is uncertainty about optimum fractionation. IMRT with its potential for Simultaneous Integrated Boost (SIB) adds further to this uncertainty. This survey will examine international practice of IMRT fractionation and suggest possible reasons for diversity in approach. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Fourteen international cancer centres were surveyed for IMRT dose/fractionation practised in each centre. RESULTS: Twelve different types of dose fractionation were reported. Conventional 70-72 Gy (daily 2 Gy/fraction) was used in 3/14 centres with concurrent chemotherapy while 11/14 centres used altered fractionation. Two centres used >1 schedule. Reported schedules and number of centres included 6 fractions/week DAHANCA regime (3), modest hypofractionation (< or =2.2 Gy/fraction) (3), dose-escalated hypofractionation (> or =2.3 Gy/fraction) (4), hyperfractionation (1), continuous acceleration (1) and concomitant boost (1). Reasons for dose fractionation variability include (i) dose escalation; (ii) total irradiated volume; (iii) number of target volumes; (iv) synchronous systemic treatment; (v) shorter overall treatment time; (vi) resources availability; (vii) longer time on treatment couch; (viii) variable GTV margins; (ix) confidence in treatment setup; (x) late tissue toxicity and (xi) use of lower neck anterior fields. CONCLUSIONS: This variability in IMRT fractionation makes any meaningful comparison of treatment results difficult. Some standardization is needed particularly for design of multi-centre randomized clinical trials.
    • 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.
    • Positron emission tomography imaging approaches for external beam radiation therapies: current status and future developments.

      Price, Patricia M; Green, Melanie M; Department of Academic Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK. pprice@imperial.ac.uk (2011-12)
      In an era in which it is possible to deliver radiation with high precision, there is a heightened need for enhanced imaging capabilities to improve tumour localisation for diagnostic, planning and delivery purposes. This is necessary to increase the accuracy and overall efficacy of all types of external beam radiotherapy (RT), including particle therapies. Positron emission tomography (PET) has the potential to fulfil this need by imaging fundamental aspects of tumour biology. The key areas in which PET may support the RT process include improving disease diagnosis and staging; assisting tumour volume delineation; defining tumour phenotype or biological tumour volume; assessment of treatment response; and in-beam monitoring of radiation dosimetry. The role of PET and its current developmental status in these key areas are overviewed in this review, highlighting the advantages and drawbacks.
    • Radical chemoradiotherapy for adenocarcinoma of the distal oesophagus and oesophagogastric junction: what planning margins should we use?

      Whitfield, Gillian A; Jackson, Andrew; Moore, Christopher J; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. gillian.whitfield@manchester.ac.uk (2008-12)
      Distal oesophageal and Type I-II oesophagogastric junctional adenocarcinomas have a poor prognosis. In radical chemoradiotherapy, consensus is lacking on radiotherapy margins. Here, we review the effect of common imaging modalities on the extent of the gross tumour volume (GTV) and the evidence for margins. To do this, papers were identified from PubMed, and geometric uncertainties were combined using the British Institute of Radiology formula. CT and endoscopic ultrasound were best for GTV delineation, but the role of positron emission tomography is uncertain. Evidence suggests 3 cm proximal and 5 cm distal GTV-CTV (clinical target volume) margins (along the mucosa) for advanced tumours, but is lacking for early tumours and radial margins. Nodal spread, present in most pT2 tumours, is strongly prognostic and is initially to regional nodes (not wholly covered by typical radiotherapy). Calculated CTV-PTV (planning target volume) margins for three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy using literature estimates of tumour motion and set-up errors with bony online set-up correction, ignoring delineation errors, are 2.2 cm superiorly (sup) and inferiorly (inf) and 1.2-1.3 cm radially (1.3 cm sup-inf; 0.8 cm radially if the tumour's mid-position is known). As these margins may risk excessive toxicity, we propose treating microscopic disease for potentially curable tumours (cT2N0, some cT3N0), but gross disease only for advanced tumours. Recommended GTV-CTV margins are a maximum of 3 cm proximally and 5 cm distally up to cT2N0; 3 cm proximally and 5 cm distally for cT3N0 if anticipated toxicity allows; and 0 cm for cT4 and most node-positive tumours. The CTV-PTV margins above must be added to this for all stages. Methods of including elective nodal areas close to the GTV should be researched, e.g. nodal maps and intensity-modulated radiotherapy.
    • Rectal motion can reduce CTV coverage and increase rectal dose during prostate radiotherapy: A daily cone-beam CT study.

      Sripadam, Raj; Stratford, Julia; Henry, Ann M; Jackson, Andrew; Moore, Christopher J; Price, Patricia M; Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Bebington, Wirral, UK. (2009-03)
      BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Daily on-treatment verification cone-beam CT (CBCT) was used to study the effect of rectal motion on clinical target volume (CTV) coverage during prostate radiotherapy. MATERIAL AND METHODS: CBCT scans were acquired from 15 patients immediately after daily treatment. From these images, the rectum was contoured allowing the analysis of rectal volume cross-sectional area (CSA) and the determination of rectal dose. Rectal wall motion was quantified as a surrogate measure of prostate displacement and CTV coverage was subjectively assessed. RESULTS: Rectal volume decreased over the treatment course in 13 patients (P<0.001). Rectal wall regions corresponding to the prostate base displayed the greatest motion; larger displacements were seen in patients with larger rectal planning volumes. CTV coverage was inadequate, at the prostate base only, in 38% of the fractions delivered to 4/7 patients with a large rectum at planning (>100 cm(3)). In patients with small rectum at planning (<50 cm(3)) up to 25% more rectal volume than predicted was included in the high-dose region. CONCLUSIONS: Rectal motion during treatment in prostate cancer patients has implications for CTV coverage and rectal dose. Measures to ensure consistency in daily rectal volume or image-guided strategies should be considered.
    • The role of PET in target localization for radiotherapy treatment planning.

      Rembielak, Agata; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Cancer Studies, The University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. agata.rembielak@manchester.ac.uk (2008-02)
      Positron emission tomography (PET) is currently accepted as an important tool in oncology, mostly for diagnosis, staging and restaging purposes. It provides a new type of information in radiotherapy, functional rather than anatomical. PET imaging can also be used for target volume definition in radiotherapy treatment planning. The need for very precise target volume delineation has arisen with the increasing use of sophisticated three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy techniques and intensity modulated radiation therapy. It is expected that better delineation of the target volume may lead to a significant reduction in the irradiated volume, thus lowering the risk of treatment complications (smaller safety margins). Better tumour visualisation also allows a higher dose of radiation to be applied to the tumour, which may lead to better tumour control. The aim of this article is to review the possible use of PET imaging in the radiotherapy of various cancers. We focus mainly on non-small cell lung cancer, lymphoma and oesophageal cancer, but also include current opinion on the use of PET-based planning in other tumours including brain, uterine cervix, rectum and prostate.
    • 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.