Advances in 4D radiation therapy for managing respiration: Part II - 4D treatment planning

Mihaela Rosu, Geoffrey D. Hugo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The development of 4D CT imaging technology made possible the creation of patient models that are reflective of respiration-induced anatomical changes by adding a temporal dimension to the conventional 3D, spatial-only, patient description. This had opened a new venue for treatment planning and radiation delivery, aimed at creating a comprehensive 4D radiation therapy process for moving targets. Unlike other breathing motion compensation strategies (e.g. breath-hold and gating techniques), 4D radiotherapy assumes treatment delivery over the entire respiratory cycle - an added bonus for both patient comfort and treatment time efficiency. The time-dependent positional and volumetric information holds the promise for optimal, highly conformal, radiotherapy for targets experiencing movements caused by respiration, with potentially elevated dose prescriptions and therefore higher cure rates, while avoiding the uninvolved nearby structures. In this paper, the current state of the 4D treatment planning is reviewed, from theory to the established practical routine. While the fundamental principles of 4D radiotherapy are well defined, the development of a complete, robust and clinically feasible process still remains a challenge, imposed by limitations in the available treatment planning and radiation delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
JournalZeitschrift fur Medizinische Physik
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • 4D
  • Imaging
  • Radiation therapy
  • Respiration management
  • Treatment planning


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